LIFE AT ITS FINEST
Meg Tilly readies for her close-up
Victoria locales shine in a host of hot reads
Yes They Can
CanAssist creates nifty devices for easier living
Fruit on the grill? What a sweet idea
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Volume XXI, Issue 6, July 2011
Compassion goes abroad, one load at a time By Marianne Scott
Mobility limits? We CanAssist you By Denise Rudnicki
talking WITH TILLY Meg Tilly, up close and personal By Shannon Moneo
HAWTHORN Can’t an MLA slap together a sandwich? By Tom Hawthorn
STATE OF THE ARTS How summer school inspires artists By Alisa Gordaneer
CONTRIBUTORS Meet some of our writers
EDITOR’S LETTER Anything is possible
HOT PROPERTIES Gorgeous on Gabriola By Katherine Gordon
HOT DESIGN Build and buy local, says a design group By Murray Sager
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Flips, slips, and tips
COWICHAN The salt of the sea is his daily bread By Shannon Moneo
FRONT ROW Canadian design at the AGGV; Buskers break loose, and so does Virginia Woolf; SKAM actors hop on bikes; and Coughlin croons. By Robert Moyes
TECHNOLOGIA Clean up your computer By Darryl Gittins
BOULEVARD BOOK CLUB Local venues pop up in all the best fiction By Rachel Goldsworthy
CREATIVE MINDS Four guys dig around in The Buried Life By Val Litwin
HEALTH & FITNESS Your poor ears want you to hear this By Vivian Smith
WINE FESTIVAL ROUNDUP Where to sip this year By Sharon McLean
TRAVEL NEAR Joining the regulars at Yellow Point Lodge By Robert Moyes
FOOD STREET Exploring Quadra Street’s international flavour By Jennifer Gurney-Bowles
TRAVEL FAR Marvellous Melbourne By Kristen Avis
FOOD & WINE Fruit and veggies get a grilling By Maryanne Carmack
WRY EYE A man and two wheels make for summer love By Shannon Moneo
SECRETS AND LIES Les is more: TC’s Les Leyne By Shannon Moneo
On our cover: Prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches with goat cheese and rosemary
THE REN A IS S A N C E O F C O M M U N ITY
At townline we believe strongly in building a sense of community – whether that’s a new townhome community in Surrey, the rebirth of an historic icon in downtown Victoria or within our own company. It’s about rediscovering the value of knowing your neighbour... and your neighbourhood. And, it’s about sustaining a way of life that we value in Canada – now and for years to come. If you’re interested in knowing more about Townline or one of our diverse range of communities, please call us or visit our website. now SellinG oR CoMinG Soon The hudson
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lIFE AT ITS FINEST
President John Simmons Vice President & Publisher Peter Baillie Associate Publisher Linda Hensellek Managing Editor Anne Mullens Associate Editor Vivian Smith Art Director Beth Campbell Business Manager Janet Dessureault Administration Coordinator Lori Smith Production Support Kelli Brunton Printing Central Web Principal Photographers Russ Heinl, Vince Klassen, Gary McKinstry Advertising Linda Hensellek, Alicia Cormier Pat Montgomery-Brindle, Geoff Wilcox
is a freelance writer from Nanoose Bay, now living in Melbourne, Australia. A former journalism student, she is finishing her degree in sociology. She has lived in Vietnam and travelled South-East Asia and loves discovering the quirks of each new city she visits with her Australian fiancé. The best part of doing research for her Travel Far article in this issue was walking for hours through alleyways, immersing herself in the vibrant city and soaking up the sun.
Jennifer Gurney-Bowles, who
writes about the Quadra Street food scene, was born and raised in Victoria and has worked exclusively in the food and beverage industry for over 15 years. She has had the opportunity to work for some of the top hotels and restaurants in the city and currently works for the Fairmont Empress Hotel, overseeing the food and beverage outlets. In addition, she owned her own finedining restaurant in Cadboro Bay. With a tremendous admiration and passion for the culinary world, she has been working as a freelance food writer for the past four years and enjoys every mouthful.
Entrepreneur and “social-enterpriser” Val Litwin cofounded Blo Blow Dry Bar, a hair salon (no cutting, just styling) chain that grew to 11 locations in three years. He also runs Extreme Kindness with the Kindness Crew, an enterprise born to educate, inspire and mobilize people to commit good deeds. The crew speaks to corporations about corporate social responsibility and attempts to bring new meaning to the phrase “global warming.” Reflecting on his interview with The Buried Life guys, Litwin says: “I love how tenacious and single-minded they’ve been about making their dream real. And they’re a riot — they’re the guys you’d want to be stranded with on a desert island.” SHANNON MONEO provides
our Secrets & Lies feature each month, which for July features Legislative legman Les Leyne. But accustomed to freelance feast or famine, she also has three more July articles for us: an in-depth interview with Victoria actor Meg Tilly; a profile of the Cowichan Valley’s “Salt Man”; and a Wry Eye column, which she hopes won’t be grounds for divorce.
EDITOR’S LETTER If you play your iPod today, send a text on a cell phone, or surf the Internet, stop for a minute and think about the movements involved: the simple dextrous clicks with a finger or the scrolling of a mouse that we take for granted in everyday life. Then read Denise Rudnicki’s wonderful article in this issue on CanAssist, the University of Victoria’s special laboratory, where a team of engineering students devise creative, functional devices for people for whom those simple movements are challenging, if not impossible. She details how CanAssist has created, for example, a billiard cue for someone who has no hands, and headbands equipped with electrodes so that the lift of an eyebrow can play an iPod. Rudnicki’s story brought back personal memories. Fifteen years ago I met and wrote about Paul, the young man she mentions whose near drowning at age six left him blind, mute and paralysed, able to move only one finger. I wrote about his terrible accident and his struggle for life, his mother Donna’s fierce love and protection of him. I watched as engineers began experimenting with a device with a light beam that Paul’s finger could cross to signal yes or no. It was tremendously inspiring back then and it is wonderful to know so many years later that Paul’s challenges spurred the development of an entire organization like CanAssist. We hope you will find many such stories to intrigue you this July issue of Boulevard. On these long summer days, explore the international culinary scene along Quadra Street; try a taste of Vancouver Island salt; or get to know Meg Tilly a little better before catching her performance as Martha in the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? Check in with the young Victoria-raised men of The Buried Life, who dreamed big and now bring their own dreams, and the dreams of others, to fruition — just like the team at CanAssist. It leaves one thinking; anything is possible, isn’t it? VB Anne Mullens, Managing Editor Boulevard welcomes your letters: email@example.com or by mail. Submissions may be edited. 10
YOUR LETTERS Left or Right? I really appreciate the recent improvements to Boulevard. The June “Flamenco!” article was especially good but I have a request regarding this piece. Does Gareth Owen play the guitar right-handed or left? From the cover and the photograph on pages 24-25 it would appear that he plays left-handed, but the photo on page 20 contradicts this observation. There is a clue on page 23 that Gareth plays right-handed because his guitar appears to be strung for a right-handed player. Will you please help a right-handed amateur player solve this mystery? Thank you in advance and keep up the very good work. Bill Darling
“It’s All About Me!”
Thanks Bill. Good catch. Gareth Owen is a righthanded player. Alas, two photos were reversed to address layout issues but we neglected to note that it would introduce a musical error. And, below, is another reader who caught another collective slip.
Copy Editors Untie! Just a comment on the June article by Murray Sager about kayaking on the Cowichan River. Mr. Sager might find it more useful to take a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) on the river than a PDF (Portable Document Format, an extension of a computer document file). Roel Hurkens June Fan June was an excellent issue. I particularly enjoyed Carolyn Heiman’s article on renovating her 1970s-era house. It is great to have such a fine magazine in Victoria that is focused on local stories and produced here. Alison Paine
Perfect Except... As a former editor and publisher of trade magazines for over 40 years in Mexico, I want to congratulate you for your interesting and fine magazine. I have lived in Victoria since 1984 and now as a hobby I check out BC magazines to notice how to improve each issue. The June 2011 issue was almost perfect to me, with interesting material and neat composition on each page, except for the pale inks used for three “zippers” on three pages. Robert J. Márquez
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Compassionate Resource Warehouse: In volunteer hands, excess goods become welcome supplies around the world
N 1999, Dell Marie Wergeland went to Honduras to help victims of Hurricane Mitch-induced landslides that killed thousands and left millions injured and homeless. The registered nurse brought along medical supplies, tools, and school materials. She worked in refugee camps and clinics distributing goods donated by aid groups. “It was chaotic,” said Wergeland, 56. “We’d find unmatched shoes, parkas appropriate for Winnipeg, junk. But what really disturbed me were those statements from the local doctors: ‘if I only had… we could do…’ They were reusing needles and gauze. It went against everything I’d been taught.” Returning to Victoria, she was determined to do something. Sponsored by the Church of the Nazarene and with the support of husband Vic and that of brother-in-law and Saanich Councillor Leif Wergeland, she decided to send a shipping container full of goods suited to local needs. A container holds the equivalent of a fully stuffed single-car garage with a threemetre ceiling. “I didn’t have a clue what it would take,” she said.
By Marianne Scott PHOTOs BY GARY MCKINSTRY
It took 18 months to ship that first load. In the decade since— and 300 containers later — Wergeland has put to good use her Royal Jubilee Hospital nursing training and the geriatric nursing care she specialized in later. “Providing good long-term nursing care takes organization and a lot of multi-tasking,” she said. The result? A non-profit organization called the Compassionate Resource Warehouse, with a 465-square-metre repository in Esquimalt, a satellite loading centre in Colwood and a shipping location in Vancouver through which tons of donated goods pass. Destinations include Kenya, the Philippines, Moldavia, India, and Nicaragua, with Haiti and Pakistan receiving special attention last year. Wergeland stresses that CRW’s containers fulfil longer-term rather than emergency needs. “We didn’t immediately go to Haiti to help,” she said. “We’re second responders, sending goods when they can be delivered. And we must be asked for assistance. So we’re not supplying charities in New Zealand’s Christchurch or the victims of Japan’s earthquake
Let us light up your world – inside and out. Dell Marie Wergeland puts in 60 volunteer hours per week running the Compassionate Resource Warehouse, which she founded.
and tsunami. These are developed nations and they’ve not asked us for help.” With her two daughters grown, she puts in a 60-hour work week as a volunteer. Time differences have her getting up at odd hours to make telephone calls. But she’s not alone. Leif Wergeland continues to raise funds to help pay for shipping costs and to provide contacts. About 70 volunteers contribute to the work each week. They sort, pack and repair at the three sites; some pick up boxes or used soap from hotels; one mends walkers at home; others tear old sheets into bandages; more show up to load the containers. “I love it,” said Wergeland of her work. “As a church member it’s part of my heritage to give to those less fortunate. We’re so blessed — and so blasé about it. I was just in Haiti and saw the joy that even very small items give. It’s so emotional for me to get the thanks and hugs that our team earned.” A walk with Wergeland through the Esquimalt warehouse shows the tasks she has mastered. When she started, her learning curve was formidable: finding donations of goods and cash, recruiting volunteers, locating responsible agencies to use and distribute goods, dealing with shipping companies, preparing export manifests, and satisfying ever-changing customs regulations. “I learned by working through it. There’s no book on it.”
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Layers of stacked boxes line the facility’s six-metre-high walls. The boxes are generic (liquor boxes, for example, can’t travel to certain countries) and are variously labelled: “girls’ summer,” “men’s winter,” “eye glasses.” Soon, many of these boxes, along with bikes, wheelchairs, linen, medical equipment, toys, tools, school books, and a host of other supplies, will be shipped overseas to an orphanage, school, home for the disabled or hospital — recipients must be a registered charity so they can receive goods tax-free. As much as possible, Wergeland fulfills a “needs list” supplied by the charities. This ensures they receive what’s most vital and prevents donated goods from becoming blackmarket fodder. “We follow up,” said Wergeland. “We visit. We know that these charities have a history of delivering aid. And many have a Canadian connection, The CRW has grown into an octopus with many tentacles. Goods arrive from individuals, church groups, consignment shops, libraries, hospitals, cruise ships, hotels, and many businesses. William Head prisoners clean up bikes from police stations for delivery. One local organization supplying the CRW is Canada Comforts, headed by Sylvia Hatfield. Her 100-plus contacts across Canada sew children’s clothes, make quilts, knit thousands of teddy bears, and crochet baby togs. “Boxes with 100 dresses, each with a pair of panties in a pocket, just arrived from two groups in Ontario,” said Hatfield. “There‘s a lot of love in this country.” Volunteers span Canada, all contributing both materials and labour. One Victoria group — ranging in age from 40 to 91 — congregates Tuesdays to sew, roll bandages, and make bags that hold teddy bears and other toys. Wergeland insists on good quality. “We represent Canada,” she said. “I want to be proud of what we send.” It seems to be working. David Heppner, director of Global Neighbors Canada, distributed blankets, shoes, clothes, and hygiene products to Burmese migrants in Thai refugee camps. “They were especially happy with their blankets,” Heppner wrote from Thailand. “The cold season is here and they’ll be warm inside their bamboo huts.” “Dell and her team are a blessing to humanity across the globe,” emailed Marj Ratel of the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation in Ghana. “The container arrived this January and it has transformed the school and the community. A library has begun, textbooks are in full use and teachers have supplies to teach the children. Dell never refuses a request to help — she always manages to find a way to meet the needs.” The Esquimalt facility shows the extent of our society’s surplus goods. One section is reserved for wheelchairs and crutches. Medical office equipment occupies another corner. Blankets and towels are checked for cleanliness; volunteers take linens home to wash and repair. In a smaller room with photos of happy children festooning the walls, a group of women sorts donated clothing. Is it clean? Do the zippers work? They reject T-shirts printed with profane, drug, or
alcohol messages. The clothes are packed into boxes or small plastic bags, called “stuffies,” which will fill every centimetre between the containers’ equipment and boxes. Volunteers come in Wednesdays and Fridays. Retired teacher Dorothy Godwin specializes in school supplies; husband Ken sorts and repairs sports equipment. Yolande Marshall has taught herself to repair wheelchairs. A special team dismantles and fixes old equipment from doctors’ offices. Donna Owens neatly boxes surplus eye glasses. Réjean Bussières resembles a mountain goat as he scales stacks of boxes and tosses them down for loading. Wergeland moves among them like a symphony conductor. Why do all these people do this work? “It’s the sense you’re making a difference,” said Yolande Marshall. “And it allows me to use my skills in very fundamental ways.” “Yes,” agreed Dorothy Godwin. “These things we send give people a leg up. We don’t change the world or governments. But we give hope.” VB For more information go to crwarehouse.ca. Goods can be dropped off on the last Saturday of every month at Lumberworld on Quadra Street, from 8 am to 5 pm.
Wergelend sends off medical supplies and equipment, toys, books, and even a first aid mannequin. 15
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high off the hog leaves me with indigestion
I’M STARTING the day with precisely $61. That’s a Mackenzie King red bank note ($50), a purple Sir John A. Macdonald ($10), and a golden loonie coin. Plenty of dough for someone in search of three square meals. My day usually begins with simple coffee and toast, or perhaps some pan dulce (Spanish for sweet bread), but since this is being done on someone else’s dime, let’s splurge with restaurant meals. We’re working nine-to-five today, so we’re hunting for a standard bacon-and-eggs breakfast instead of a fancy brunch. The workday is to be spent near the Inner Harbour, so we’ll limit the hunt to the downtown area. John’s Place at 723 Pandora Ave. has long been a place to go for yeast-batter Belgian waffles ($6.25) with dark roast coffee ($2.75). That’s $9, plus tax and tip. Or we can launch the day with brekkie at Mo:Lé, at 554 Pandora, where one of the morning specials is the Simon Whitfield Yam Omelette (“eat like an Olympic champion”). That’s $13 for a heaping helping of health. For lunch, let’s splash into a big bowl of barbecue pork and wonton noodle soup at Wah Lai Yuen, 560 Fisgard, for $9.50. (Comes with Chinese tea.) My other choice would be a pulled pork sandwich ($6.50) with a side of beans ($1.75) and
cornbread ($1.75) with ice tea ($1.50) at Pig BBQ Joint, 1325 Blanshard. Southern comfort? I’m in a Southern coma after that delicious pig-out. Some other possibilities for the midday meal: five tacos de pollo on handmade corn tortillas for $5 at Hernande’z Cocina, a slice of El Salvador located in the ground-floor walkthrough of an office building at 735 Yates St.; or, some Ocean Wiseapproved, tempura-battered halibut fish ‘n’ chips ($13) at Red Fish Blue Fish in the converted shipping crate on the pier below 1006 Wharf St. Supper is an easy call for me. It is one of two places. At Zambri’s, I’d start with fried mozzarella ($9) followed with lamb shank contadina ($30). At Brasserie l’Ecole, I’d scarf a couple of oysters on the half shell with sweet, sour and spicy mignonette ($2.50 each) followed by steak frites ($23 for the 8-ounce sirloin). Rare, of course. What a feast. Three terrific meals by local chefs in some of the city’s best restaurants. Alas, my personal budget does not permit three restaurant meals per day on any day, let alone on every work day. Few jobs permit such profligacy. One that does, however, is to be an elected servant of the people. Look in the finance ministry’s Core Policy and Procedures Manual. Under the travel section, in paragraph four of subsection 10.3.7, it says members of the Legislative Assembly can claim a $61 meal allowance each day they’re working on official business — when the Legislature is sitting, or when they’re fulfilling cabinet duties. I object to Victoriaarea MLAs charging for meals while discharging their duties within a typical commute of the Legislature. They treat the meal money as a bonus. The MLAs do not even need to submit receipts. It’s a sweet deal that leaves me with indigestion. Being an MLA is not easy. The hours are long, the files complicated, the public demanding. For this, they are well recompensed. Elected representatives earn a base salary of $101,859, with many of the 85 MLAs earning substantial additional salaries for other roles (premier: 90 per cent extra; cabinet with portfolio, 50 per cent extra; government whip, 20 per cent extra). Even a lowly deputy chair of a committee earns an extra $10,185.90. We are not talking about people barely able to make ends meet. Jane Sterk, the leader of the BC Greens, has a suggestion: “Bring meals from home.” Or buy your own lunch with your own dime, just like all the rest of us mop-wielding, pencil-pushing, working stiffs. Some of the people serving high-on-the-hog politicians earn minimum wage, which increased to $8.75 per hour in May after having been frozen at $8 for a decade. That’s $70 per day in earnings, before taxes. As far as I as concerned, the $61 food allowance is a gravy train that needs to be derailed. VB
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FRESH BREEZES blowing through arbutus trees, sunshine sparkling on Pedder Bay, the scent of forest and oil paint and sweet smoke rising from a raku kiln — it’s a combination that seems to conjure up creative expression. If you’ve ever wondered where artists, musicians and writers get the inspiration for their work, the Metchosin International Summer School for the Arts, held on the campus of Pearson College, could answer that question. Since 1985, artists from across the disciplines have gathered at MISSA, as it’s known, to recharge their creative energies and develop their work. Perhaps it’s the magic of place, perhaps it’s through a convergence of creative energy, but either way, every summer more than 200 artists practicing in various disciplines — from ceramics, painting and printmaking to sculpture, metalwork, photography and music — find rich ground for creation. They come to take courses to improve their skills, deepen their creative process, or learn new techniques to bring to their ongoing work. “The cross-fertilization of ideas and creativity is a creative hot-pot,” says the school’s executive director, Nancy Roach. “You’re with loads of other like-minded people, learning about their creative ideas, seeing their work, and hearing their lectures. Plus, it’s (an opportunity) to concentrate on your own practice, and for many, that’s a rare thing.” That’s especially important because art, in whatever form it takes, requires a long apprenticeship that’s never truly 18
A full schedule of lectures and events is available at missa.ca. VB
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complete. Artists know there’s always a new way to approach an image, a movement, a sound or a page, and the best ones are continually honing their craft in search of that refined, revised, or renewed approach. Some might call it the search for inspiration, but I think that the more skilled an artist becomes, the greater the possibilities for In 1985, about 25 students inspiration to take shape. enrolled in five classes. That’s why it’s so This year, the school offers important that a school 41 classes, from ceramic like MISSA exists. As glaze techniques to musical potter Judi Dyelle, composition, as well as a the school’s first administrator, recalls, residency program. “We had been asked so many times if we gave classes, and one day Robin (founder Robin Hopper) said that we should offer them at our property” she recalls. “I told him that we didn’t have any facilities to house or feed the students, so that is when he thought that he would approach Pearson College and see how many people would be needed to rent the college.” That was in 1985, when about 25 students enrolled in five classes. This year, under the direction of Roach, the school is offering 41 classes, from ceramic glaze techniques to musical composition, and a residency program in which experienced visual artists can pursue their own projects under the guidance of a mentor. In some ways, MISSA is similar to other long-established arts learning institutions, such as the Banff Centre, in that it offers further professional development for artists who have already significantly honed their skills. However, as Roach points out, it also offers a number of introductory courses that allow beginners to learn basic skills, or allow artists to explore new methods of expression. Part of the reason why artists like it so much (many return year after year, says Roach) is that opportunities for crosspollination among the genres abound. I was a student at MISSA in its early years, and what worked well about it then is still the case today: small classes in which artists can learn, hone and develop their work, share it with others, and become further inspired by that interaction. Apart from Victoria’s increasingly popular artist studio tours, audiences don’t often get a chance to see art in the mucky, messy stages of its creation. But MISSA makes it possible for audiences to glimpse the forefront of artistic development. As Hopper points out, every instructor gives one evening lecture “to round out and augment the regular class content.” These lectures are open to the public, and are an excellent way to learn more about a wide range of artistic practices. So no matter why you’re looking for inspiration this summer, make sure to pay a visit to the summer’s hottest creative scene.
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Angels of Adaptation funded by the university, government, foundations and MAGIC HAPPENS in the unlikeliest places. Like here, in philanthropists. A couple of devices have commercial a small, one-storey building modestly called E-Hut, tucked applications, for which CanAssist will get a fixed percentage of behind the bookstore on the campus of the University of sales revenues if and when they come to market. Victoria. In one corner, a man fiddles with a device that lets The engineering team at CanAssist have someone play billiards without the use of created some remarkable devices, and their hands. Nearby, a man is lost in thanks to their desire to document creative thought, puzzling out a everything they do, hundreds solution to how a quadriplegic of photographs show their person can operate a video clients and creations. Here’s camera. Across the room, a photo of four-year-old another man works on Shira in a pink track suit, iPhone apps that allow a laughing in her swing. brain-damaged man to She has spinal muscular keep track of ordinary atrophy and CanAssist daily tasks, such as how created a harness that to make coffee. attaches to the swings Welcome to the labs in public parks so of CanAssist, where that Shira can ride weird and wonderful alongside her friends. gizmos and gadgets Gorgeous 15-yearfor disabled individuals old Katy shows off her come to life. automatic stamping Director Nigel device. She makes Livingston is the force If a disabled person greeting cards but behind the program. It because of her cerebral started 11 years ago, with needs a special device, palsy, her Mom had to a request to modify a tape CanAssist’s team use a hand-over-hand recorder so a teenager method to stamp the named Paul could play build it cards. CanAssist created a his music. Paul had nearly device with a large button drowned in a childhood mounted near Katy’s face. By Denise Rudnicki accident. He was blind, She rocks her head and bam! immobile, in a wheelchair photos by Ivan Petrovic The card is stamped. and with considerable spasticity. Emily is a talented pianist who Livingston built Paul a recorder he could became a paraplegic after a car accident. operate with just his little finger. Since then, Livingston She could no longer use the piano pedals. CanAssist created an estimates they have helped many hundreds of people, mostly electronic, wireless pedal activator that Emily controls with her in BC but also around the world, in Kenya, Brazil, Portugal head. and the United States. Livingston clicks through the photo gallery, telling story after About 638,000 people in BC live with a wide range of story. He stops on a photo of a boy on a tricycle that is disabilities. Livingston’s goal is to help every single one live as decorated with a big, red bow. independently as possible and enjoy the activities the rest of Little Hughie’s upturned face beams. His dwarfism means he us take for granted. can’t grab the handles or reach the pedals of a regular-sized “What really makes us unique,” says Livingston, “is that tricycle. Thanks to CanAssist, he’s pedalling like mad on his new we’re absolutely service-driven. Someone will come to us and custom-sized ride. say, ‘My daughter needs to play the trombone but can’t see the “This was incredibly moving,” says Livingston. “Even the hardconductor. Can you help her?’ Or someone needs a device that bitten engineer who made this got emotional when we delivered allows them to keep working. And we build it.” it and he saw how happy Hughie and his family were.” There is no fee for the services or devices. CanAssist is
Livingston offers a tour of the CanAssist labs. First stop is the work station of a young man who is busily typing on a keyboard — with his mouth. Dan Spelt, 21, has cerebral palsy. He develops software, and makes and researches technologies for CanAssist. On the other side of the room, graduating engineer Sunny Mahajan shows the iPod adapter he made for a local teenager named David. The high school student has cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment. He has very limited muscle control, cannot speak and depends on his support workers for everyday tasks. David loves music, especially reggae, but could not operate an iPod. Mahajan created a device that allows David to play his music simply by moving his forehead muscles. When David contracts and relaxes his forehead, he generates electrical impulses. Those impulses are read by surface electrodes that Mahajan put in a headband. They send the information to an attached electromyography device and David can scroll through his iPod, select and play his music. Livingston beams like a proud father. “Note the black Lululemon headband,” he laughs. “It’s very cool.” This iPod adapter is an incarnation of a device called the podWiz, also created by CanAssist. This allows people to operate an iPod with a single button. CanAssist has provided about 230 of these devices at a cost of about $500 per unit, to young people across the province. CanAssist gets many requests to adapt fussy, multi-button devices such as iPods and digital cameras so they can be operated with a single switch. Electrical design specialist Peter McGuire talks about “the Blue project,” a favourite among CanAssist staff. Twelve-year-old Blue loves photography but he could not take his own pictures because of the limited dexterity caused by his cerebral palsy. McGuire says CanAssist wanted to give him something that looks like a digital camera, with all the functionality, but that can be operated with a single switch. Blue’s Canon digital point-and-shoot camera has a tiny microprocessor attached to the outside. That little computer, along with an external battery and the camera itself, are enclosed in a shiny aluminum case, in red, Blue’s
CanAssist devices include equipping a wheelchair with a ball launcher so Darren, seen here with his wife Tanya, can exercise and play with their Golden Retrievers, top. Members of the CanAssist engineering team work on a mechanical arm to enable billiard playing, middle. Hughie beams aboard his custom-made tricycle, bottom. 21
Blue, 12, seen here with his mother Dawn, takes a photo with a single button using a CanAssistadapted camera.
favourite colour. “It’s really important,” says McGuire, “that these devices look good. We don’t want them to look like some horrible institutional things.” Blue’s camera, David’s iPod, Emily’s piano — CanAssist takes on virtually all requests. If there is an existing technology, CanAssist directs people to it. For example, if someone wants a tricycle for their child and one already exists but it’s expensive, and they want CanAssist to build a cheaper one, Livingston will say no. They also do not build on-road vehicles because of the liability issues. Most devices can be made in short order but some requests take longer. “Some people we work with for years,” says Livingston, “because they have incredibly challenging disabilities or a progressive disorder.” Others are simple, like the device that allowed a young man with limited dexterity to attach a leash to his dog. “That might have taken a week,” says Livingston. Every once in awhile, the CanAssist wizards are stumped. For example, a request to make a device that allows a girl with one arm to play the chords on her guitar remains unfilled. CanAssist tried to create a device that allows her to use her feet to control the chords. “It’s not terribly successful,” sighs Livingston. “We’re still working on it.” VB
Sunny Mahajan, right, adapted a Lululemon headband to enable David to raise his eyebrows to play his iPod.
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a chef creates the Vancouver Island Salt Co. By Shannon Moneo photos by dean azim
T BEGAN one leisurely summer evening when Cobble Hill resident Andrew Shepherd and a buddy were barbecuing ribs, drinking beer and dishing over the high price of sea salt. They say many ideas are spawned over a drink or two and in this case, as the beer flowed, a great wave of an idea hit Shepherd. By 5 the next morning, the professional chef had a pile of sea salt after he scooped up ocean water at nearby Cherry Point and boiled it down over a wood fire. “I just stumbled into this,” explains Shepherd, 32. After peppering friends and chefs with his new concoction, Shepherd had to repeat the procedure. So impressed were they, they clamoured for more and thus Vancouver Island Salt Co. became official in January, 2010. As the salt cravings mushroomed, early this year Shepherd, working solo, replaced his two woodstove ovens with a brick, four-oven, 16-burner version that rules over his front yard. Intent on recycling, he’s proud to say the five-decade-old bricks came from a demolished, Vancouver-area toilet factory. When word of Shepherd’s salty endeavour spread among artisan food fans, some wondered why it hadn’t been done before, while others said they had contemplated such a production line. “Have at it,” retorts Shepherd, who’s not worried about competition, given the demanding nature of his new labour-intensive career. If he’s not hauling or chopping wood to feed the needed fire, he’s hauling ocean water. “It’s a real basic concept. It’s not super-technical,” he says. The process begins when Shepherd drives his truck to Cherry Point at high tide. Wearing hip-waders, he fills 20, 30-litre plastic containers with sea water, a job he does about six times as the water boils down to salt. Using heavy-duty, cone-shaped restaurant grease filters, he filters the water before boiling it. Metal screens top the pots to keep out airborne impurities. After the 16 heavy-duty pots are filled to two-thirds, Shepherd keeps the fires burning, using mill ends and slash wood, which he gets for free from a small sawmill. He consumes at least two cords of wood each week, which, if he had to buy, would cost about $350. To keep the water boiling, the fire has to be fed every two to three hours, round-theclock, usually for about four to five days. During peak demand, Shepherd has been known to burn 10 to 14 days non-stop, which makes for a sleepy owner. With rising demand for his salt, he’s hired summer employees. As the water evaporates, it gets to a certain saltiness and then separates. It’s then that the salt hovers about one inch under the top of the water. At that point, Shepherd lowers the heat, slowly boils off the rest of the water and is left with the salt. Two batches of salt can be produced in about five days,
Left, sea salt in various stages of processing.
Salad Season is here. (lettuce explain) At Aubergine, summer is known as salad season. And with salad season, comes the grand opening of our very first Garden and Produce Centre. We are pleased to offer you a fresh selection of locally grown Saanich produce, everything from Basil to Zucchini. As well as a bounty of Okanagan produce. And if growing your own is tempting, you’ll find we have a great assortment of starter plants and herbs. Happy salads everyone.
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Founder Andrew Shepherd keeps the ocean water boiling around the clock to create his final product. 27
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each batch yielding about 18 to 27 kilograms. The salt is sold in Vancouver Island and Vancouver specialty stores for anywhere from $5 to $9 for a half-pound bag. It’s also available online and in Alberta and Ontario stores. Chefs can buy a five-pound bag for about $27 and on Shepherd’s website; a 1.5-pound bag sells for $15. As it tastes stronger than regular salt, using sea salt requires a lighter touch. Unlike commercial products, it doesn’t burn the tongue, a sign of heavy processing, Shepherd notes. His product is also less refined than many European salts. Website testimonials call it sharp, tangy and clean-tasting. White in summer, the salt takes on a grey tinge in winter, which Shepherd attributes to higher magnesium levels in the water. But flavour isn’t affected. Shepherd also makes smoked rock salts, using coarser salt from Quebec that he smokes with maple, cherry or alder wood. They’re best used on foods without strong flavours, such as chicken, pork, vegetables or white fish. Since September 2010, Ottavio Bakery and Deli in Oak Bay has stocked Shepherd’s products. The biggest seller is the maple-smoked salt, followed by the regular sea salt and finally the alder-smoked product, says Monica Pozzolo, who owns Ottavio with husband Andrew Moyer. “Once people taste it, they’re sold on it,” Pozzolo says. Shepherd’s handiwork also seasons Cowichan Pasta
Company’s home-made ravioli, Since the Cowichan Lakebased company has embraced an Island version of the 100Mile Diet, using Shepherd’s salt was a no-brainer, says owner Matt Horn. No stranger to food production himself, Shepherd developed gourmet foods before becoming a one-man salt factory. He grew up in Halifax, where he got a university degree. He met his wife Jenn, a schoolteacher, in Ontario (they have two children, Reuben, 8 and Grace, 5), got his chef’s training in Toronto, “It’s a real basic concept. and then travelled and It’s not super-technical,” worked in New Zealand says Andrew Shepherd and Australia. After returning to Ontario, a of the salt-making process. frigid winter sent the couple packing to Vancouver Island, where he worked for a retail gourmet food business on Salt Spring Island. Now he’s in what you could call a truly sustainable enterprise, with shortages of sea water or wood unlikely. He also can’t use plastic and rubber products because of the high, sustained heat required to make the salt. “Doing all right,” financially, Shepherd will only stay in business if he can substantially increase production and salt away the cash. “But I’ve had overwhelming local support. People call me ‘the salt man’.” VB
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Mother, writer, actor Victoriaâ€™s Meg Tilly, once again, is ready for her close-up BY SHANNON MONEO photo by gary mckinstry
omewhere in Victoria dwells Meg Tilly with her third husband, author and screenwriter Don Calame, and their border terrier Scooter. A 1985 Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actress in Agnes of God, respected author, former dancer, a blogger for Huffington Post Canada as well as author of her own blog, Chewing the Fat, Tilly is the star this month of Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She has returned, likely permanently, to the town she fled as an 18-year-old. Here, Tilly won’t have to sit as she did in her early struggling years in New York, squinting at a Monet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pretending she was in a lovely garden. During a nearly two-hour interview with Boulevard, the many facets shine of this star of screen, stage and pen. She’s the mother of three: Emily, David and Will, the last now a London-based actor and the child she had with Oscarwinner Colin Firth during their five-year relationship. A keen reader of financial pages, she’ll lovingly describe eating a plum or devouring copious amounts of candy but won’t dish on the bad-mannered actors she encountered or the seductive meal she made for a beau. By turns innocent and charm-filled, Tilly, 51, is also tough and driven. But she had to be, growing up in a home where sexual abuse, hunger and dread lived. When Tilly burst into our consciousness as the nubile and pliable Chloe in 1983’s The Big Chill, the impact was instant. Praised, with stardom predicted for the former ballerina, Tilly exited stage left in the mid-1990s to be a mom. Wearing sweatpants, a man’s old, baggy cardigan and a T-shirt given to her from actress and poker-star sister Jennifer (who, incidentally, gives Tilly a variety of high-fashion castoffs), the unpretentious Tilly is anything but a big chill. If you don’t get to see her on stage in July, you might just spot cell-phone-less Tilly using a pay phone somewhere in Victoria. Here are highlights of our conversation: Why come out of retirement now, and why on stage? I’ve always wanted to do stage. It just wasn’t feasible, because stage pays nothing. You really do it for the “love of.” I had responsibilities, kids at home. I just couldn’t justify the time. I’ve always glamorized in my mind, the emotional satisfaction you get from diving into a character, having rehearsal time, because in movies you generally don’t. To be able to rehearse for a month and then not have anything cut and not have to shoot things out of sequence seems to me, glorious. Do you have any first-night rituals backstage to ease jitters? I was hoping I’d be able to do my hair and makeup so that as I’m preparing to go on stage, it’s like Martha preparing for the evening out.
The late Liz Taylor famously played Martha and won the Oscar. How does an actor today make the part her own? I’ve never seen the play and I’ve never seen the movie, I’m lucky because I don’t have somebody else’s voice, somebody else’s idea of Martha banging around in my mind. Certain characters grab hold of you and change you. Martha’s one of those. Of all your roles, what was your favourite? Agnes of course (Agnes of God). Everybody loved her. Jane Fonda loved her. Norman (director Jewison) loved her. Anne Bancroft loved her. Norman made a rule that nobody could swear around Sister Agnes. Everybody had to call me Sister Agnes. I ran into someone from the film recently and he still treated me like Sister Agnes. It was so, so adorable.
If you had to choose between writing and acting, which would you pick? I picked writing for many years because it’s something I could do at home. I do really enjoy writing. It’s been so many years of going to the page, going to the page. The wonderful thing about writing, you can do it whether or not you’re hired. The challenging thing about acting, you really have to be hired. The thing I’m really enjoying about the stage is the collaboration. With writing, it can be sometimes lonely. But it’s nice to have a job where one can wear sweatpants. How did writing two books (Singings Songs and Gemma), about sexual and physical abuse change you? It changed me hugely because for my whole life, up until the point I’d written them, I played the fairy-tale version of my life instead of acknowledging the real one. It was very scary. I had such nightmares leading up to the publication of Gemma and also Singing Songs. I thought, here I was with this really happy life that had turned out so well and I felt like it was time to do my community service of telling people you aren’t alone. It was, I think, really healing for a lot of people. I got a lot of white hair going out with that and speaking about it in public. You were born on Valentine’s Day; what do you celebrate more on that day, the love or the wisdom that comes with age? Both. Other people’s love, but more importantly self-love. I think for women, we’re always taught to beat ourselves up, to pick at what supposedly isn’t perfect, whatever the particular fashion is. It concerns me, the different kinds of ideas of beauty, to have so many women mutilating themselves. I have friends who have had face stuff done and such. I don’t understand. For me, it’s about the inside, who we are. Has there ever been anything worse than when your dance career in New York ended after you were dropped doing a pas de deux? Yeah. I think when there were people in my childhood who I felt were my responsibility to protect
when I was helpless to protect them against the adults. That was worse. Equal was when I tore all the ligaments in my leg and wasn’t able to play Constanze (in Milos Forman’s Amadeus). That was really hard. When something happens with my children and I have no power to make things better or to solve it or to help with their heartaches, that’s right up there.
Sweet Dreams ...
Based on your past romances, you sound alluring, a demure siren. What’s your secret? I don’t know. They’re probably attracted to my goofiness. I try to be intelligent, whatever. They just kind of smile at me fondly. I guess I say things that I don’t even know are funny but I guess they are. I’ve been lucky and unlucky in love. What do you and your husband do for fun? We like walking. We laugh a lot. We talk a lot, a lot, a lot. We play cards. We read each others’ work but that can sometimes be challenging. We play computer games. Our son turned us onto this computer program with the TV where it scans your body and you become like flowing, molten lava and it’s your body shape and you punch these blocks and they explode. Everybody looks really goofy when they’re doing it. You do get very sweaty though. Why, as you say, is food your “Kryptonite”? I love, love food. Nothing makes me happier than my mouth having a craving for something and being able to fulfil it. There’ve been many times in my life where I was hungry or had no money. It just feels like such a huge blessing to be able to go down to the farms and get boxes of blueberries and raspberries and eat them. If someone was to say you can’t ever have another piece of jewellery, no problem. I’d be just as happy with a plum that was just perfect, hard and sweet and juicy, exploding as you bite into the skin. Why do you live in Victoria? I always had a home in Canada somewhere or other. I moved to the Mainland for four years. Later we tried Qualicum Beach (for eight months) but it wasn’t for us. It was just lonely. We moved to Victoria in May, 2010. We wrote down different places and Victoria won head and shoulders. It’s got all the things you need. Your son Will wants to act: what do you tell him about it? He’s seen it. He was too young when I was very famous, but he’s seen it with his father, where people want to be his friends because of who his father is. Will has always loved acting. He’s very talented. I try to tell him, save your money. Some actors when they get some success think it’s going to be there all the time You need to plan financially more than other fields. And don’t pay attention to reviews: they’re just people’s opinions. All you have control over is doing the best job you can do. VB
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Busker Bust-Out! Fire jugglers! Contortionists! The world’s best clown! Those are just some of the highlights of the inaugural Victoria International Buskers Festival, 10 days of family-friendly fun that will transform downtown Victoria into a very happy place indeed. It’s the brainchild of John Vickers, whose earlier projects include those carved pumpkins at Government House as well as the Victoria Masquerade Ball, a charity event at the Fairmont Empress. “I’m a passionate supporter of downtown,” says Vickers. “It’s like a good restaurant that just needs a little ambience.” His current project got started after he visited the Halifax busker festival, the largest such event in North America. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make this festival happen,” says Vickers, who worked long hours for the first couple of months of the project with no salary. With a $150,000 budget, he is setting up five separate stages, from Centennial Square
to the front lawn of the Empress. Twelve outof-town main-stage acts are booked, as well as 40 others performing at various “busk stops” throughout downtown. The talent includes six acts that have won People’s Choice awards at festivals around the world. British-based Flame Oz specializes in highly choreographed fire juggling. Montreal’s Becky Hoops combines wacky humour with multiple hula-hoops. Sweden’s Victor Rubilar, a globally celebrated juggler, currently keeps four Guinness World Records in the air. The international acts will perform three times a day on different stages. Including locals, there will be 60 performances daily. To make sense of it all you’ll need a $2 program guide, on sale at the Tourism Victoria building and the lower foyer of the Bay Centre. “We want to create a great buzz,” says Vickers. “Victoria is a city that deserves to be celebrated.” Running from July 15 to 24, at various downtown locations, victoriabuskers.com
Montreal’s Becky Hoops will perform at the Victoria International Buskers
Festival, July 15 to 24.
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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
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O, Canadian Design Triumphs People live in a highly “designed” world, whether it’s the kettle that makes the morning coffee or the chair for flopping into after a tough day at the office. Everything in our homes was designed by somebody, and those quotidian objects express ideas about the world we live in. Although most of us take little notice, all those plates, drapes and radios are of intense interest to Allan Collier, a long-time furniture designer and builder who has become a noted scholar of domestic design. He has amassed a huge collection over the years, one that spills out of his basement and garage. A tiny amount (about 200 items) will comprise most of an exhibition he has curated for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. This journey into the recent past is called The Modern Eye: Craft and Design in Canada, 19401980. According to Collier, the rise of modernism resulted in new design idioms, often with new materials, that embodied principles that were rational, scientific, and functional. An emerging middle class was embracing “progress,” and the subtext was that society could improve itself with the help of efficient industrial processes. “The height of modernism in terms of craft and design occurred in the middle of last century, and a surprising amount of good design was coming out of Canada at that time,” explains Collier. “Some of the characteristics included clarity, simplicity of form, and abstract decoration,” he continues. “People were turning their backs on the past and embracing the spirit of the new.” One example 38
Robert Bateman Everyday
Robert Bateman - “Raft of Otters” acrylic on board, 24" x 48"
Lounge chair and Ottoman, Strahan and Sturhan Upholsterers, Vancouver, c. 1954
Robert Bateman - “Denali Sweep” acrylic on board, 26'' x 60"
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
And some friends:
of this aesthetic is a red lounge chair and ottoman by Strahan and Sturhan Upholsterers of Vancouver. One notable success of the golden age of Canadian furniture design in the late 1940s and 1950s was a “string chair” by Quebec designer Jacques Guillon. Named after the taut lengths of string that compose the seat and back, it has an elegant simplicity of line. Collier keeps one in his tasteful, understated living room, but has it out on loan for this exhibit. When he misses it he can always console himself by looking at another of his innumerable collectables, a copy of the March 1953 Life magazine that features a photo of Guillon’s marvelous chair. Running at the AGGV from July 22 to November 27. For information, call 250-384-4171.
Mickie Acierno | Kristina Boardman Phillip Buytendorp | Carol Evans Douglas Fisher | W. Allan Hancock | Gail Johnson Clement Kwan | Catherine Moffat Nancy O'Toole | Michael O'Toole
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Warehouse Butchart’s Summer Festival brings out the crowds for performances every summer evening, with fireworks on Saturday night. You can see Joe Coughlin on July 13.
Coughlin Croons at Buchart A rich line-up of musical
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talent will perform at Butchart Gardens every night this summer. Acts include regular appearances by the Victoria Symphony, Chris Millington, and the Odysessy String Quartet as well as one-time appearances by top performers. But jazz vocalist Joe Coughlin, an award-winning musician, will be hard to beat. He is, quite simply, one of the best singers in Canada. Coughlin has performed on the Butchart bandstand twice, but with a big band. For this gig he’s bringing his longtime quintet and will uncork a 90-minute set of “American Songbook” standards as well as new tunes destined for an album he’ll record later in July. The man with the gorgeous baritone has also just celebrated 30 years of making records by releasing Slow And Slower, a retrospective of some of the classic heartache and romance ballads he’s done over the decades. “Playing at Butchart’s is idyllic,” says Coughlin. “There’s all that rolling pastoral beauty, plus we always get a good house.” Joe Coughlin performs July 13, 8 pm, at 800 Benvenuto Avenue. Concerts are nightly throughout the summer and free with general admission ticket with fireworks on Saturday night. For information, refer to the “entertainment calendar” on the Butchart Gardens website butchartgardens.com.
SKAM Artists With a 16th birthday just behind them, the provocateurs of Theatre SKAM have long since become fixtures on Victoria’s cultural scene (to say nothing of their out-of-province and out-of-country successes). Celebrated for site-specific performances, ranging from Norm Foster’s Louis & Dave, performed in the back of a 1979 Volaré to Elaine Avila’s Lieutenant Nun, which ran for two summers at Macaulay Point Park, Theatre SKAM is expanding an initiative started two years ago. Bike Ride is a sequence of a dozen 10-minute plays on different themes and by different performers that will be set up along a four-kilometre stretch of the Galloping Goose trail. A few of the featured companies include Giggling Iguana and Not Your Grandma’s Poetry Productions. According to SKAM’s artistic producer, Matthew Payne, they have worked out all the logistical challenges of co-ordinating bike traffic
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and expect to double the attendance this year, for a total of 800 viewers over two weekends in July. “People will meet at Cecilia Ravine Park, just north of the Selkirk trestle bridge, and then be released in groups of 12,” explains Payne. “It starts at 3:30 and runs for about four hours each day.” According to Payne, some regulars arrive with their bicycles festooned with anything from puppets to deer antlers, while a bike-decorating tent at the park is there to encourage everyone to have fun with it. “The audience response to Bike Ride has been stronger than anything we’ve ever done,” he adds. “That’s when we said, ‘Hey, I guess this just became an annual event.’ ” Running July 9-10 and 16-17, starting at 3:30 pm at Cecilia Ravine Park. For information Google “skam.ca” or phone 250-FUNSKAM (386-7526).
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www.bricklok.ca Artist Norene Schmuck’s colourful mosaics, like this piece Pisces, will be a centrepiece of the Sooke Fine Arts Show.
A Smashing Artistic Success For Norene Schmuck, the act of smashing coloured plates and reassembling them into elaborate mosaics is a Zen-like solitary pursuit that usually takes place in the meditative environment of her East Sooke home studio. Later this month, however, she’ll be plying her trade in a much more public venue as part of the 25th annual Sooke Fine Arts Show. Schmuck, who has spent the last 15 years refining her unique style, will be stationed in a parking lot outside the Sooke Arena during the week-long festival, where she’ll oversee the creation of a two-metre square community mosaic to commemorate the show’s silver anniversary. “People can stop by and help cut and glue,” says Schmuck, who is working on the mural with fellow Sooke artists Kay Lovett and Kerry O’ Gorman. Destined for outdoor installation in Ed Macgregor Park following the festival, the mosaic will depict the surrounding areas of Sooke and highlight park activities. Schmuck plans to sketch out the design in advance and precut as many pieces as possible, but she’ll have a small arsenal of plates on hand that will need to be smashed as the piece progresses. 42
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“There’s a certain satisfaction in breaking things,” she says. “It’s therapeutic. You don’t feel guilty because you’re turning it into a piece of art.” Featuring well-known and emerging talents from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, artists demonstrations, juried awards, live music and even culinary events, this year’s Sooke Fine Arts Show is expected to draw more than 7,500 people. Occurring at the same time is the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour, in which some two dozen artists in the Sooke/Metchosin region open their studios to visitors. ~ Brennan Clarke Both the Sooke Fine Arts Show and the Stinking Fish Studio Tour run from July 23 to August 1.
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Back in the mid-1960s, most 16-year-old boys were obsessed with cars and Beach Boys albums. For Brian Richmond, the world of theatre was all he cared about; so much so that instead of getting a copy of Surfin’ USA he bought the soundtrack of the actors performing the original Broadway play of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Nearly a half-century later, Richmond, now a theatre veteran currently based at the University of Victoria, is directing his own version of Woolf. It will be the centrepiece of the third season of the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. Best known as the play-turned-movie that earned Elizabeth Taylor an Oscar, the Albee masterwork is a scalding dissection of a dysfunctional marriage that unfolds over one boozy, brawling evening. “This was the era of Ozzie and Harriet and here comes Albee showing the battlefield that marriage could be,” says Richmond. “It’s brutal and sad, but also very funny.” And it’s hard not to be excited at his celebrated coup of snagging movie star Meg Tilly — interviewed in this issue of Boulevard by Shannon Moneo — for the role of Martha. Best known for The Big Chill and her Oscarnominated performance in Agnes of God, the Victoriaraised Tilly has long been a Hollywood dropout more interested in raising her three children than acting. “She told me that playing a role of such substance in live theatre is like a dream come true,” notes Richmond. “This is going to be an intense experience.” Running from July 5-17 at the McPherson Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121. VB
The Legacy Art Gallery welcomes you to our newly expanded space. In the main gallery: Convergence/Divergence: Landscape and Identity on the West Coast July to September 17, 2011 Watch our website or phone 250-381-7645 for opening date information. 630 Yates St. | 250-381-7645 (eﬀective July) | Hours 10 am to 4 pm Wed to Sat | Legacygallery.ca 43
The Buried Life guys work hard to
keep it “real” in their reality show
Clockwise from top left, Jonnie Penn , Duncan Penn, Dave Lingwood, Ben Nemtin
By val litwin photos by Eric Johnson
S THEY wrap up season two of their hit MTV show, one could argue life is looking like a giant VIP lounge for the Victoria-born gents of The Buried Life. There’s an A-list girlfriend, (as of press time) a speaking tour and they’ve seen up close what’s emblazoned on President Barack Obama’s basketballs. But these purveyors of possibility say the journey hasn’t been as glossy as the tabs that often track them. Still, they seem bent on etching silver linings wherever they go. If you haven’t heard of Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood and brothers Jonnie and Duncan Penn, you’re likely not one of their 1.1 million Facebook fans. These Victoria high schools grads (Duncan and Jonnie from Glenlyon Norfolk School, Ben and Dave from Oak Bay High) have a bucket list that would make Richard Branson envious. What started as a documentary-filmmaking road trip through British Columbia in 2006 has morphed into a popular MTV reality show called The Buried Life. Their modus operandi? To ask this question and answer it: What do you want to do before you die? So far, their answers have included delivering a baby, escaping from a deserted island in the South Pacific and shooting lay-ups with President Obama on his private court (he only dribbles Obama-branded basketballs). They’ve even clutched talk TV’s Holy Grail for a few minutes as guests on Oprah. But it’s not all about them. They want to know how others answer the question, too. “For each item we cross off (our list), we help someone do something on their list,” says Nemtin, 27, the ringleader. A young woman from Douglas, Wyoming whose friend died in a hunting accident, wrote to tell the guys she wanted to build a functional memorial. Team Buried Life mobilized the town, got building supplies donated and constructed an X-Games-calibre skateboard half-pipe in four days. This was no MTV-funded media op: it was a hands-on, hearts-on effort. “We weren’t in control of it,” says Lingwood, 24, “the town was the hero.” But behind heroic deeds and do-goodness are politics. “It’s a weird job because we’re not allowed to have any complaints,” says Jonnie Penn, 27. “This is such an opportunity, but you know it’s a roller-coaster so you buck up and get through it.” Nemtin reflects: “We don’t want to be a Make-A-Wish Foundation or Extreme Makeover (Home Edition); we just want to shine a light on regular people. The struggle is being careful not to succumb to other people’s visions and demands — there’s a lot of pressure outside the four of us to make it something different, pressure from executives to drive ad sales.” After the first season, that MTV pressure became to “make it more epic,” says Sally Glover of Victoria, Ben’s mother. Competing with shows like Jersey Shore that draw up to nine million viewers per episode, the guys had to parlay their base of one million fans into something more. “Ben was really
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pressured to leverage his relationship with Whitney (Port),” star of reality shows The Hills and The City. “They were pushed to expose themselves and really work it,” says Glover, “but they didn’t.” That doesn’t mean they always get it right. “They would come home and forget that I needed help taking out the garbage,” laughs Glover. “It was still ‘Mom, can you do my laundry?’ And I would say, ‘Boys, you’re hobnobbing with the best of them now, you can do your own frigging laundry.’ ” “I think about them constantly,” frets the brothers’ mom, Hazell Penn, who lives in Victoria. “I wonder if they’re going to live the ‘L.A. life’ sometimes, but I trust them to make sound life decisions. Being good Victoria boys they see through things, they’re grounded,” she says. Although she admits, “their clothes don’t really make sense to me.” The guys say their audience plays a role in keeping them honest. “They call us out on stuff,” says Jonnie Penn, referring to fans who wonder how cameras can be planted so “Sometimes the fans don’t ideally on an unscripted think it’s real so we reality show. “Sometimes always have to explain the fans don’t think it’s everything,” says Ben real so we always have to Nemtin. “We just have to explain everything,” says be transparent.” Nemtin. “We just have to be transparent.” On the subject of “real,” the guys already talk like seasoned media personalities when puzzling over where to draw the line when it comes to sharing their personal lives. “We’ve always thought that one degree of separation is good,” says Nemtin. “We don’t get into too much nitty-gritty: we actually don’t think that stuff is too interesting.” Despite that, 117,000 eager fans follow their every utterance on Twitter and groupies post bucket-list dreams every 30 seconds via social media. “When priorities change,” asks Duncan Penn, 24, “what am I going to be posting on social media?” Says Jonnie Penn: “I really want to get married — Number 78 is to fall in love. Am I going to be posting pictures of my child one day?” Their Twitter stream is impressively devoid of personal pronouns and private minutiae and focuses more on the dream dialogue with fans. One of the guys feels the BC connection is too strong to resist. Jonnie is spending time this summer on Cortes Island in the Northern Gulf Islands, protesting the logging of old growth trees. The Penn boys are fifth-generation Vancouver Islanders. All the guys insist they love Victoria (and might even end up back here someday), but for now L.A. is home. Jonnie and Ben share a house, Duncan and Dave live in another flat. Their ongoing 20-plus North American speaking tour brought them to Glenlyon Norfolk this past April, where speaking to students keeps them connected to their goal: “Our mission is really to remind each other that people can hope, that they can dream.,” says Jonnie. Next on their to-do list? Number 100: Go into outer space. VB 46
A Gabriola Island dream home, built for space, light and love By Katherine palmer-Gordon photos by Nick Halpin
By carolyn heiman PHOTOS BY RUSS HEINL
hen Peter and Anne Drozd moved back to Canada in 1976 after 12 years in Europe, the two chartered accountants landed in Toronto with “no jobs, two dogs, and no house, but enough furniture and art to fill one,” Anne recalls wryly. The Drozds had both qualified as CAs after they married in 1962. They immediately landed dream jobs in Italy with the same branch of a Canadian accounting firm, going on to work in various locations in Italy and Greece over the next decade and amassing a large collection of European art and fine furnishings along the way. On their return to Canada, securing employment was straightforward for the two experienced CAs. Finding a house in Toronto to move their possessions into was nowhere nearly as easy — Anne looked at 143 homes in just one week — but
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Gabriola Architect Judith Roux designed the Drozd home in three “pods” on the four-hectare lot. The centre pod is a glass great hall, which holds the kitchen, dining and living areas and is the eye-catching heart of the design.
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the Drozds finally found the first of four homes they would inhabit in Toronto over the next three decades. The collection, growing constantly, always moved with them. In the spring of 2003, they moved it all to Gabriola Island. “We were planning to retire and came out in the spring of 2003 to look at properties,” says Anne. “We found this site and fell in love with it.” The couple called Gabriola architect Judith Roux to assess the four-hectare lot. “She thought it was an excellent building site, so we bought it that afternoon.” The couple engaged the unassuming and down-to-earth Roux to design their new home. Roux was delighted: “Anne and Peter were every architect’s dream,” she says. “They had no preconceptions about how to achieve what they wanted so gave me free licence to come up with the design.” “I did tell Judith I wanted the house to have three “pods”— the kitchen, dining and living areas; the master bedroom suite; and the guest rooms,” says Anne. Peter, an amateur wood sculptor, wanted a workshop. Both wanted an open kitchen suitable for two people to cook simultaneously. The dining area had to be designed around a 200-year-old, 18-seat table acquired from a Roman convent that was downsizing. Naturally, the art collection had to be accommodated. Last, but
The open-plan kitchen is suitable for two people to cook at one time and the dining room fits a 18-seat convent table.
far from least: “I explained to Judith our fundamental need for light and a strong sense of space,” says Anne. With those broad instructions in hand, Roux went to work. Acutely conscious of the Drozds’ desire for light, she threw out the convention that north-facing windows should be small to preserve heat. Instead, she designed the multi-tiered, pentagonal north side of the house with floor-to-ceiling windows to embrace the distant views of Georgia Strait and the Coast Mountains. A long, single-level plan incorporated the three “pods” in Anne’s vision, with high ceilings on both sides of the living/dining area, the middle pod. On the south side, equally expansive windows in the kitchen area helped provide the 3,000-square-foot house with the Drozds’ essential sense of space.
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The intricate roof that the design required was daunting to contemplate, admits builder Stuart Denholm. With five different walls just on the north side of the building, and several different pitches, it looked challenging. “But Judith’s plans were so good that things went very smoothly,” says Denholm appreciatively. “That was true of the whole house,” he adds. “It was a real pleasure to work on it and get to know Peter and Anne in the process. The house design just seemed to fit them perfectly.” While Peter spent his days during the construction phase working with Denholm’s building crew and planning the exterior landscaping, Anne focussed on the interior design. Magazines and personal experience supplied much of her inspiration, especially for details aimed at greatest convenience: a two-way drawer system connecting the master bedroom to the laundry room, for example, and a raised dishwasher tucked behind saloon doors in an elegant butler’s pantry located between dining area and kitchen. Bathroom cabinets mirror the dramatic arbutus tree design
on the front door frame, the latter an idea of Anne’s brought to vivid life by Gabriola craftsman Vince Dedame. The kitchen counters vary in height from 36 to 42 inches to accommodate different cooking activities and multiple cooks. Decorative built-in cabinets and drawers provide ample storage space throughout the house and double as counters, room dividers and works of art. All the furniture and art also found proper places, thanks to Anne’s exactitude in creating scale cut-outs of each piece to lay out on the plans, ensuring they would fit as intended. The slender wall-to-ceiling chimney in the centre of the house contains a two-sided Rumford fireplace. “We wanted the fireplace to separate the dining area and living room,” says Anne. “But Peter was adamant he didn’t want it to overwhelm the sense of space — he didn’t want a traditional, heavy-looking stone structure.” Roux came to the rescue with an ingenious idea. Take an industrial steel U-channel beam, powder-coat it in copper, add an etched-glass front and voilà: elegance and function combined, without sacrificing space and light.
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Far left, built-in cabinets and drawers provide attractive, functional storage in the kitchen. Centre, a two-sided fireplace is a graceful and warm room divider. Above, an arbutus design on bathroom cabinetry matches the front door.
The Drozds received their occupancy permit in January of 2006, but what should have been a celebration was coloured by sadness. Peter had already been diagnosed with incurable cancer. The couple enjoyed just four years together in their new home before Peter died in April of last year. Judith Roux, who remains good friends with Anne, says that nonetheless, every time she sees the house, her heart gives “a little jump” of pure joy. “I love this house. I love that these two people made it possible to happen — they were so open to any ideas and to the sheer beauty of it. They ended up with something perfect for them, and Peter did get to see that dream become reality.” 53
design. build. inspire.
Anne Drozd finds great comfort in her Gabriola Island home.
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Perhaps it’s that perfection that allows Anne great comfort in being in the home she now occupies alone. “In many ways, I feel it is a haven for me,” she observes, watching the afternoon sunshine streaming in her windows. “I got the light I wanted. It’s very comfortable. Everything from my life with Peter is here in this beautiful house,” she says simply. “I’m always glad to be here.”
SUPPLIERS AND TRADES: Many individuals and companies were involved in the creation of this home. The homeowners wish to acknowledge the following contributions: Residential design: Judith Roux; Contractor/builder: S. Denholm Construction (Gabriola); Electrical: Atwork Electric (Gabriola); Plumbing: Summer Rain Water Delivery (Gabriola); Cabinetry: Vision Design (Vince Dedame), Bob Andrew, Simon Brown (all Gabriola); Fireplace: Chimney — Imperial Welding Ltd. and Duncan Power Coating Ltd., Glass front — Budget Glass (Nanaimo), Grete & Co. (design), Rumford insert installation, Chris Bell (Gabriola); Doors/windows: Walker Door and Window (International) Ltd.; Door fixtures/hardware: Victoria Speciality Hardware & Plumbing Ltd.; Woodwork: Canadian Bavarian Millwork & Lumber Ltd., Stan McRae (Gabriola); Lighting: Illuminations Lighting Solutions Ltd. (Victoria); McLaren Lighting. VB
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100-MILE DESIGN This modern bathroom designed by JC Scott features Interstyle Agate glass tile pebbles set into ocean green slate tile from Decora Tile. The countertop is Green Moss granite from Matrix Marble & Stone. The vanity is local Douglas fir.
The “100-mile design” concept promotes local products, designers, artisans and more
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By Murray Sager photo by justine murphy
F YOU are walking along Government Street, pause in front of the old Bank of BC building (now the Bard & Banker pub) and rap on one of those “stone” columns. It’s not stone and the makers’ mark on its base is the giveaway: “Albion Iron Works.” These castmetal columns were built in the late 1880s by local workers using local materials and designs. By buying and manufacturing in the area, Albion Iron Works became a successful shipyard. It was amalgamated with Victoria Machine Depot, which employed my grandfather, a naval architect, for almost all his career. The company was famous for building Second World War Liberty ships and built the first of the BC Ferries fleet. And in doing so, in some sense, it contributed to the breakdown of the “buy-locally, build-locally” Island economy it had helped strengthen in the first place by selling its products to wider markets, using inexpensive, reliable transport. Now, all these years later, designers such as JC Scott are returning to the practice of promoting local artists, artisans, and manufacturers who use materials that are sustainably harvested or recycled. They call this idea “100-mile design,” an offspring of the popular 100-mile or “locavore” diet. Victoria-based Scott, who dates his environmental interest back to the 1960s, says he wanted to honour the locavore movement and was looking for something that would get at the concept for locally designed, sustainable products. In fact “100-mile design” is a concept that takes in every aspect of building a home from the first breaking of ground to the final, finishing touches. Recently a group of local building experts joined together, calling themselves the Island Home Connection, to specialize in eco design, flooring, windows, plumbing fixtures, lighting and more. Along with the environmental aspect of purchasing locally-made goods, other benefits to buying locally include a design culture that understands what is appropriate for the West Coast lifestyle and architecture and simply having local employees on the payroll. Furniture is a natural “100-mile” fit for our environment. It is made from large amounts of wood byproducts, or can be made from wood that has been damaged from insects or
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At the turn of the 19th Century, many Victoria buildings such as the old Bank of BC (today’s Bard & Banker) naturally featured local building products — and in doing so, built our local economy.
wind. On the Island we have a stock of extraordinary firstgrowth fir that was first harvested in the early years of the last century and is now in demand as a recycled resource from old warehouses, aircraft hangars and industrial buildings. The largest piece of furniture in Scott’s studio, for example, is a long, broad-leaf maple table, with two polished metal plinths for legs and glass on top. The table’s edge retains the shape of the trunk and a shallow groove in the timber, perhaps where there had been a bit of rot, is filled with river pebbles. This is a piece from John Lore at Live Edge in Duncan. Scott likes this company for large pieces and commercial work, anything from providing furniture for
a resort in Tofino to a “one-off,” like a massive maple boardroom table similar to the one I admire for a medical research company here in Victoria. “Our furniture is more expensive than imported. It’s simply labour costs, which are much higher than in China, Thailand or Mexico,” says Lore. “But there are hidden costs to imported furniture, from long-distance shipping to environmental damage where their materials are harvested and manufactured.” Local stone products are also a natural for the 100-mile concept. Matrix Marble & Stone in Duncan, for instance, quarries, cuts and polishes local stone, adapting Italian stone methodology to bring out more organic texture and surface, and brushing rather than polishing to highlight the grain. Matrix now exports to eastern Canada on the strength of producing Canadian marble. K2 Stone, with a showroom in Victoria and a plant at Duke Point, is one of the premier slate producers in western Canada and its environmental credentials are good, says Scott. Outside Scott’s studio in Fan Tan Alley, the late afternoon sunlight shines through a tall, thick, sculpted panel of pale green glass. “That’s a piece by Charles Gabriel. The quality of his work is unsurpassed, but it’s his environmental credibility that impressed me. He turned down an important commission in Germany because it would involve so much air travel. It’s hard to be an environmentalist and then jump on a jet plane,” says Scott. Gabriel produces sandblasted architectural panels for local architects and has shipped pieces to California and England as well. It can be a length, costly and at times frustrating process. “A set of stairwell panels took over two months to complete and twice pieces broke in the kiln,” says Gabriel. Scott fans out samples of what at first appear to be large, semi-precious stones but are recycled glass tiles, from Interstyle in Vancouver, which falls into the 100-mile circumference. “They are really fabulous: there’s nobody doing better glass tile in North America. I’m doing a swimming pool lined with these.” He shows me a clear aquamarine tile the size of a drink coaster, with a few flecks of what looks like gold. I’d like one just to carry around as a good-luck piece. Comox is outside the 100-mile design area, but as Scott says, it’s a flexiblee concept and Comox is home to Woodland Wide Plank flooring. This company goes after blow-down or salvage lumber, rather than chopping down trees. According to Scott, Woodland bought most of wood that blew down in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and turned it into benches and flooring. Scott’s goal is to have the 100-mile design idea succeed so that other places around the world take it up. Already, local designers, including Lore from Live Edge, have shown their work at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. “I’m not surprised,” Scott says. “We really are a crucible of environmental ideas.” VB
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Listen up: hearing loss is a big deal that you can do something about By vivian smith
In November, 2008, Bruce Kilpatrick and his son Daniel sat in Row 10 of the Tacoma Dome, at their first AC/DC concert, ready for three hours of thunderous intensity from their favourite hard-rock band. They were so close to the speakers that they could feel the music rattling right through them. “We loved every minute of it,” says Kilpatrick, director of communications at the University of Victoria. But they didn’t expect to lose their hearing: it would be nearly five days for Kilpatrick to regain his ability to hear normally, less time for his son. They couldn’t even order pizza that night because neither could use the phone. “It was like trying to talk to someone at the bottom of a deep pool,” recalls Kilpatrick. “That threw a scare into me.” Today, photos of the concert decorate his office door and he still listens (with volume lowered) to AC/DC, among other bands, on his iPod as he walks to work. But Kilpatrick, 54, says he now misses parts of conversations and notices he has to replay TV programs more often to understand the dialogue. Work conversations require more focus than before if there is background noise. Getting people like Kilpatrick to have their hearing tested (which is on his to-do list) can be hard, when many of us
tend to think of hearing as not as big a deal as vision loss. I get my eyes checked regularly, for instance, but I can’t remember the last time I had my hearing checked. But it is a big deal. “Hearing loss really affects communication,” says Janet Holland. She is a “rehab” audiologist at Victoria’s nonprofit Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre (idhhc. ca), where she helps people figure out how to deal with hearing loss. Poor hearing affects every interaction, from workplace meetings, to talking to your doctor, to whispering something meant only for your spouse. Hearing loss is generally not reversible, but today many products, services and practices restore hearing and/or ease the frustrations and stigma that can be attached to it. “We live in a world of loud noises all the time,” says Holland. “Because Victoria leans toward an older population, hearing loss is going to become more common.” Statistics Canada would agree: the prevalence of hearing loss, which affects about one in 20 Canadians over age 15, starts to grow steadily from age 35 to 44, with the highest rate reported by people 75 and older. However, noise injury, not age, is the most common cause of hearing loss, according to Connect Hearing of Victoria (connecthearing.ca). More than one-third of hearing loss is caused by prolonged exposure to noise. Sustained loud noise 69
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from traffic, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, vacuum cleaners and power tools can contribute, according to local hearing aid clinic B.C. Hearing Services Ltd. Then there are those loud concerts and personal listening devices such as the ubiquitous iPods and MP3 players. In fact, a study last year in the US found that hearing loss is up 30 per cent since 1994 among teenagers age 12 to 19, which the researchers attributed to, in part, listening to loud music through earphones. In another study, the Hearing Foundation of Canada conducted a survey in 2008 of 150 teenagers and found that 30 per cent of them exposed themselves to music at levels (above 90 decibels) and durations that were hazardous to hearing. The BC chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (chha-bc.og) says hearing loss has many other causes too, including genetic ones, diseases (mumps, AIDS, meningitis and more), and medication (such as certain antibiotics). I think my husband mumbles just to drive me crazy. But if I start to think everyone I talk to is mumbling, that could be a sign of hearing loss (if not paranoia). Other signs? You turn the volume up on the TV set or hit replay; you often ask people to repeat themselves; and you avoid social situations because of
the strain of trying to hear. You also may often say things that people find weird because you have misunderstood them; find men’s voices easier to understand than women’s or children’s; favour one ear; deny your hearing loss and refuse to be tested; or have ringing in your ears (tinnitus). If you’re over 55, it’s a good idea to be tested even if you think your hearing is fine. Your doctor can arrange a hearing test with an audiologist, the More than one-third professionals who perform tests of hearing loss is and recommend hearing devices. Some people with severe to caused by prolonged profound hearing loss elect to exposure to noise. have electronic cochlear devices surgically implanted, but for most people hearing aids are far more common to help restore hearing. (The output control on a hearing aid limits the sound it produces, so that no new damage occurs.) Depending on what features the aid offers, the price ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Old hearing aids used to merely amplify sound: today, the digital models cut down on background noise more effectively, can “zoom in” on a certain speaker, can cut out squeals that used to emit from the older devices and even, if they use Bluetooth wireless technology, hook into your cell phone or iPod. Styles
vary, with hearing aids fitting behind and inside the ear, completely or partially. “It’s important to know what features you need,” says Holland. “Are you still working and going to meetings, for instance? What is your lifestyle?” The other important aspect is the time it takes for you and your brain to adjust to hearing aids, which can take several months or more and mean follow-up visits to the audiologist. As for prevention — beyond avoiding loud noises — think of sound as something you can apportion throughout your day. (Yes, like calories.) If you spend Saturday afternoon with the gas mower, don’t go to a loud concert that night. Give your ears time to recover from unexpected loudness. And wear ear protection, even if it is those little foam buds you can get at the drug store. Keep your iPod level low, and guard against noise creep, which is what you get when you turn up the volume on the car radio as you drive because of street and engine noise. If you already have hearing loss (or want to avoid it) and are at a noisy party, find the quietest spot in another room and just speak to one person at a time. The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre offers seminars on this and other types of coping skills, as does the CHHA. For more information, see their websites. VB
TURN THAT THING DOWN! Decibels (dB) are units of sound magnitude. When your hearing is tested, the dB measurements are plotted on a graph to produce an audiogram. If levels stronger than 25 dB are needed for you to hear a sound, then you are deemed to have hearing loss. How different dB levels of sound compare: Quiet room: 40 dB Typical conversation: 60 dB Air conditioning window unit at 25 feet: 60 dB Vacuum cleaner: 70 dB Traffic: 80 dB Lawn mowers, garbage trucks, motorcycles: 85 dB and louder, the threshold for damage after sustained exposure. Rock band: 110 dB, enough to harm unprotected ears after 15 minutes (temporary hearing loss may occur after exposure for an extended period of time to sound at this level; permanent hearing loss can be a result of repeated exposure). Compressor: 120 dB Jet engines, shotguns being discharged: 125 dB, the pain threshold. From The Canadian Encyclopedia (thecanadianencyclopedia.com) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (ccohs.ca)
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More than a spit and polish —
get your computer systems and
please WASH ME!
When was the last time you cleaned your computer system? Physically that is, not virtually. It’s not only esthetically nice to rid the system of gunk and goo, but dust can actually clog cooling vents and cause a system to slow down and even crash. It’s not hard to clean the screen, the keyboard and the mouse, and it’s also not too difficult to take a panel off a desktop computer and clean the accumulated dust bunnies. A laptop is harder to clean, but because laptops are prone to overheating, it’s even more important to remove the dust. Important: before you proceed with any of these steps, shut down the system, unplug it, and then press and hold the power button to discharge any residual voltage. The screen: Your monitor might be the most important and expensive part of your system. You stare at it all day, so who wants to look at all those fingerprints, dust and oily smudges? Be careful what you use to clean it though. Many articles online and in magazines contain misinformation about this. For example, Apple says: “Use only a damp, soft, lint-free cloth or LCD cleaning product” and “Don’t clean the screen with a cleaner containing alcohol” to clean the screen. That’s good advice, except many “LCD cleaning products” contain isopropyl alcohol, which can damage a screen with repeated use, depending on what it’s made of. Even a glass screen can be damaged because it has a coating that can be dissolved. The best thing to use is one of those micro-fibre cloths you get with your glasses. Be careful to keep the cloth clean, as a speck of sand imbedded in the cloth could scratch. If the screen is really filthy, dip a lint-free cloth in a sink with mild, diluted dish soap and warm water (before you wash the dishes), wring it out thoroughly, and then wipe the screen. 74
It works nicely on crystal wine glasses, and also on an LCD screen. The keyboard: Turn the keyboard upside-down, and hold it over a flat surface. Give it a few slaps on the back (think burping the baby). Prepare to be horrified at what comes out. If you eat at your desk like I do, there’s enough grunge in there to keep La Cucarachas happy for ages. Then wipe it down with a damp cloth.
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The mouse: Are you still using a mouse with a ball at the bottom? If so, splurge and get a mouse that uses an LED, as they never need cleaning. Otherwise, see this article on how to clean a ball mouse: wikihow.com/Clean-a-Mouse-Ball. The cell phone: This is bacteria central. Cell phones are exposed to more bodily bacteria than a typical toilet seat. Think about what you touch throughout the day, and then handle your phone. Then consider that while you might wash your hands, when’s the last time you cleaned your phone? Eew. Pass the anti-bacterial wipes please. Cell phone screens are typically much tougher than computer screens, so you should be able to use alcohol wipes or a specialized product such as Cleen Cell Wipes, but check the manufacturer’s website for suggestions.
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The desktop dust bunnies: Be brave. You can do this. All you need is a can of compressed air, a Phillips (star) screwdriver and a bit of derring-do. Remove one side panel from the computer. If you’ve opened the wrong side, you will only see the back side of the motherboard — open the other side instead. You should see cables, circuit boards, and lots of dust. Resist the urge to use a vacuum cleaner inside the case — its suction is too hard and can do damage. Instead use the compressed air to blow out the dust. Be sure to hold the air can upright, otherwise it could spray liquid. Look for dust lodged in heat sink cooling fins. (Google it to see what they look like). Also, when you blow on any fan, use a pencil carefully placed between the blades to prevent the fan from spinning. The laptop: This is the tough one. If you rely on a laptop, consider taking it to a trusted service centre for internal cleaning, because it’s hard to do. You can’t easily open the case, and laptops are prone to clogging and overheating. If the laptop runs slow or crashes on these hot summer days, it’s a sure sign that it needs a professional cleaning. You can wipe the screen with the micro-fibre cloth, and then use a damp cloth to wipe down the keyboard and case. Then, if you want to try, use compressed air to blow into the cooling ports at the bottom, back, and sides of the system. Do all the ports once, and then do them all again, a few times. By repeatedly blowing air back and forth through the cooling channels, you gradually dislodge and remove the dust. VB 75
Iconic to bucolic, Victoria inspires local fiction writers
By Rachel Goldsworthy
WHEN protagonist Sandy Grey jumps off the Mill Bay ferry in Marilyn Bowering’s What It Takes to Be Human, Victorians can feel the summerwarmed layer of the inlet’s water and the irresistible tug of the tide. In Sharon Ashwood’s Frostbound, we’re as surprised as the hell-hound Lore by the unusual snowfall. In Bedtime Story, we go along for lunch at Ferris’ Oyster Bar and Grill with author Robert Wiersema and his characters. When we read, sometimes we want to discover novel lands and new people but often we love to find unexpected stories behind familiar faces. It’s exciting when old Aunt Victoria reveals a tale we haven’t heard, or puts a spin on one we thought we knew. Our hometown is loaded with settings for almost every kind of story: historical and contemporary; mysterious, paranormal and romantic. Being able to picture instantly a root-infested footpath in Bamfield from William Deverell’s April Fool or the dripping forests of Mark Zuehlke’s Tofino-based mysteries immediately drop us into a story. Sometimes it takes the author in quicker, too, than building an image word by word.
“There is a real relationship between story and place,” says Bowering, who has used actual sites in all of her novels. “I’m always interested in iconic places.” For example, the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (aka Wilkinson Road jail) was once the Provincial Mental Home for the Criminally Insane, the main setting for What It Takes to Be Human. “It used to have wonderful gardens,” she remembers. “I visited it as a child with my parents’ church band …I picked up feelings from the atmosphere.” The sites (though not all the names) in Bowering’s To All Appearances a Lady existed in fact, from the farms at the base of Christmas Hill to Lum Kee’s herbalist shop, from the Colonial Hotel to the Tai June opium factory. “They were real places at the end of the 19th century,” she says. “Some of the buildings still exist, although their functions have changed many times through the years.” Once, a woman with a summer place near Jordan River brought her book group up from South Carolina to do a walking tour of the sites from the novel. Robert Wiersema’s scene-setting strategy is similar to Bowering’s. His
stories are often inspired by real events, and locales influence how those events are transformed in and by fiction. “People have a psychic geography of places,” says Wiersema. “It grounds (the story) in a real way.” Wiersema’s stories play out in recognizable places because that’s the way they unroll in his head. In Bedtime Story, the characters have a weekly lunch date at Ferris’ Oyster Bar “because that’s where they would go,” he says. “It’s organic.” Other writers bend reality more. Sharon Ashwood, who writes paranormal romances, relies on Victoria’s atmosphere, but fictionalizes the sites. Because her publisher is a U.S.-based division of Penguin, Ashwood’s editor asked her to use a setting that would be familiar to readers without being identifiably Canadian. “Mass market (publishing) is extremely traditional,” Ashwood explains. “It’s awkward for me as an author to have to think in U.S. terms, but I don’t think it materially affects (my stories). Anyone who lives in Victoria will recognize a lot of the landmarks.” The entrance to the supernatural prison in Scorched is in Waddington
Alley, as identified by the cedar-block cobbles and the hellhounds guarding the door. The Empire Hotel in Unchained is based on old hotels on lower Yates Street. One building on Government Street, the ultra-respectable Irish Linen Stores since the early part of the twentieth century, was once a hotel that then became a brothel. Much later, the upstairs rooms became government offices, while beneath street level a subterranean world still existed. “Years ago,” Ashwood says, “you could see into some of the old tunnels. That shows up in Frostbound.” Ross Bay Cemetery, under an alias, also turns up frequently in her books and Unchained shines a decidedly unflowery light on the Fairview Botanical Gardens. Savvy readers will spot the Butchart Gardens’ pergola hung with flower baskets — and never look at the Sunken Garden the same way again. “It seemed natural to set a paranormal in Victoria because we have such a strong history of ghosts and paranormal activity,” Ashwood explains. Bowering’s stories also include other-worldly elements familiar to Islanders: Cadborosaurus is out of his usual cove but we know him right away when he shows himself to the character Sandy Grey near Patricia Bay. And boaters might not be visited by ghosts of their own, but anyone who has spent a misty dawn rolling on the swells of Discovery Passage will sympathize with character Robert Lam in To All Appearances a Lady, when his mother finally explains the truth about his family’s past. Like Lam’s father Ng Chung, the lepers who were once exiled to D’Arcy Island east of Saanich are only historical characters now. Maybe. Visitors to the island, which is now part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, sometimes leave food and fake money for ancestors a hundred years dead. In fact, To All Appearances a Lady offers a boat tour all on its own, thanks to Bowering’s descriptions of Lam’s cruise from the Upper Harbour, beneath the Johnson Street Bridge, and then through the net of channels and landfalls along the eastern fringe of Vancouver Island. While the places in many Island-set books are (or were) real, others have been fictionalized, such as Ashwood’s Fairview Gardens, Deverell’s Garibaldi Island, and the blend of locales in Bowering’s Cat’s Pilgrimage. The sentient old house in Ashwood’s Ravenous could be any of a number of colourful James Bay homes, but Bowering readers on a mission can find Cat’s mom’s house in the Gorge area, even though the streets aren’t named. The trick to plotting a book tour of Victoria lies in deciding which places are real. Because, as with every great story, whether factual or fictitious, they’re all true. VB Questions or comments? Want your book club featured in the magazine? Please email Adrienne Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Tips on how to sip: A guide to getting the most from BC’s wine festivals
By Sharon M c Lean
Saturna Island Vineyards Harvest
Festival is September 17, 2011
ACH YEAR I make sure I go to at least three or four wine festivals in British Columbia. Wine festivals are fun, social events that are a fantastic opportunity to try new wines without investing in costly whole bottles. Owners and winemakers are often found behind the table and it’s a great chance to ask them questions or hear the stories behind their wines. While individual wineries often hold their own small festivals, larger group events bring a selection of wineries together. I always attend the Vancouver International Wine Festival each spring, and am looking forward to Victoria’s own Taste Festival in July. This past winter I attended the Parksville Uncorked Food & Wine Festival. It was the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway. At the Swirl gala event I tasted my way through some of the best that BC has to offer from the 36 wineries represented. Some of my recent BC recommendations are based on that night. At the fabulous Burrowing Owl dinner at the Beach Club Resort the pairing of Qualicum Beach Scallops with the winery’s Pinot Gris was 78
outstanding. Their 2009 Pinot Gris has a wonderful rich mouth-feel, which matched the scallops perfectly. The next day, the Sumac Ridge Tribute sparkling wine was a highlight of the Bubbles and Brunch event at Tigh-na-Mara. A room full of wineries offering tastes of three or more vintages can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. It is a good idea to have a strategy in mind to make the most of the experience. Do you love Cabernet Sauvignons, but want to try new producers? Are you bored with Chardonnays and want to try different white wines? Are you just there for fun? Based on your objective, give yourself permission to pick and choose when you go a table. The people serving the wine don’t expect you to taste your way through all the wines they have to offer. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “I’m only trying Cabernet Sauvignons” or “I’m looking for a light, fruity white”. But please don’t go round asking for the most expensive in the line-up — it shows a certain lack of discernment! Since it can be hard to keep track of all the wines, seasoned wine tasters keep Seasoned wine tasters notes. You will usually keep notes. You will be given a booklet with the details. Jot down your usually be given a impressions alongside the booklet with the name — even a smiley face details. Jot down your will do. I carry my tasting impressions alongside notebook because I like to the name — even A smiley keep all my notes together, face will do. but it means I have to write down the vintage, the producer and the name of the wine each time. A number of wine apps are available that allow you to take a picture of the label with your cell phone and add your comments. When you find a wine that you like, always remember to ask where it is available. Many of the smaller producers are not in the BC LDB, and they may only be carried in a few private stores. Do remember to be respectful of others. Much of the enjoyment of wine comes from the aroma, so avoid using scented hair and body products. It can get busy at the tasting tables, so stand back after you have your sample to let others get in. And, some of us do spit — please don’t block the spit bucket. Here are some food and wine festivals to enjoy in the coming 12 months: July 21 to 24, 2011: Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine. Hosted in Crystal Garden, the “Main Event” offers a sumptuous collection of over 100 BC wines and an array of culinary treats from top Vancouver Island chefs. Other festival events include “Swine and the Vine” at the Hotel Grand Pacific, “Sips and Seafood” at the Inn at Laurel Point, and “Band, Bubbles and Bennys” at Vista 18. See victoriataste.com
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August 13, 2011: Galiano Wine Festival. An openair, afternoon event held at Lions Park on Galiano. The festival offers the chance to try a selection of BC and international wines and, of course, it’s a perfect excuse for a weekend retreat. See galianowinefestival.com September 14 to 18, 2011: Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival. The wineries, cidery and restaurants of Cowichan Valley open their doors over the course of this festival. It’s a great opportunity to taste what’s happening in our backyard. See wine.cowichan.net October 8, 2011: Nanaimo Wine Festival. Held at the Beban Park Auditorium in Nanaimo, this festival offers over 200 wines from BC and around the world. See nanaimowinefestival.com February 23 to 26 2012: Parksville Uncorked. Hosted by the Beach Club Resort and Tigh-na-Mara, the festival spreads over four days and includes winemaker’s dinners and the gala “Swirl” Event, which showcases BC wines and the tasty bites from local chefs. And for the beer fans, 2010 saw the inclusion of “Parksville Untapped” in the festival, with tipples from 12 BC breweries. See parksvilleuncorked.com March 28 to April 3, 2012: Vancouver International Wine Festival. One of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world, it shouldn’t be missed. The week is packed with lunches, dinners, seminars and, of course, the tasting room offering over 1,700 wines from over 170 wineries. See playhousewinefest.com
Jim loved to coach, not just because he loved soccer, but because he believed sports could teach important lessons. To continue those lessons, Jim placed a bequest to fund camp scholarships in his will.
Thanks to Coach Bindley, a few more kids will reach their goals. Include your favorite cause in your will or estate plan. Contact a charitable organization, lawyer, financial advisor or local LEAVE A LEGACY™ program to learn how.
April, 2012 Wine Islands. Vancouver Island and Gulf Island wineries host this annual event in Victoria with local wines, ciders and meads. Almost 30 wineries attended in 2011. Date TBA. See wineislands.ca June, 2012: Tofino Food and Wine Festival. The beautiful Tofino Botanical Gardens provide the perfect setting for the main event, “Grazing in the Gardens”, which showcases the best of local food and BC wines. Date TBA. See tofinofoodandwinefestival.com Along with festivals, check out tastings at local wineries, wine stores, hotels and bars. At a recent “Friday Night Flights” event in the cellar at the Westin at Bear Mountain I enjoyed a selection of four Chilean wines. The 1997 Don Melchor from Concha y Toro was spectacular and showed great concentration and integration. Local sommelier Stuart Brown led the tasting and was on hand to answer questions. Look for future events at the Westin, Charelli’s on Foul Bay Road, Everything Wine and SIPS in James Bay. VB
Make a Difference in the Lives that Follow
For more information about leaving a gift in your will to your favourite charities, call Joy Spencer-Barry at 250-415-6089, or Natasha Benn at 250-721-6001, or visit www.leavealegacy.ca/vi. 81
Yellow Point Lodge:
rustic, rambling and revered by regulars Text and photos BY robert moyes
Owner Richard Hill serenades guests with his double bass at Yellow Point Lodge, which for more than 70 years has perched on a coastal point across from Ladysmith.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you won’t get dessert.” That age-old parental mantra is invoked every Saturday night at Yellow Point Lodge, arguably the patriarch of BC’s rustic retreats. The man who admonishes the 110 adults in the dining room is Richard Hill, the affable owner who presides over this patch of heaven northeast of Ladysmith. He’s also the guy who hauls out his stand-up bass to serenade anyone with a birthday or anniversary. The vegetable “lecture” is, of course, just a silly ritual, and most of the diners are regulars who chant merrily along. Gerry Hill, Richard’s father, started what became Yellow Point Lodge more than 70 years ago. It began with seven tiny cabins and a cook-house/dining room but then hit its stride in 1939 with the opening of the main lodge. Long a fabled getaway, these days Yellow Point attracts mostly regulars (eight of 10 guests are repeaters) some of whom come several times a year; others arrive from places like New York and Texas. Revered primatologist Jane Goodall has been here twice. Almost always full, the lodge draws 10,000 visitors annually. “I’ve been in charge for 25 years now: precisely half my life,” says Hill, who grew up on the property and effortlessly grew into his role as avuncular host. “Each week brings a different group and they all have their own rituals,” Hill notes. He gets everything from an all-female book-andmountain-biking club to the gang that writes its own scripts for an annual Murder Mystery Weekend. “Another crew is really into skinny-dipping and I don’t bust them because they feel like they’re big kids and they lose their inhibitions,” he adds. “It’s those traditions that help keep the place bound together.” The connections run deep. When the main lodge burned down in 1985, it was rebuilt in about a year by family, staff, a few professional log-cabin builders and a large pool of volunteer labour known as the Friends of Yellow Point. This already-existing cadre of volunteers, most from Vancouver, had a routine for years of putting in 10 hours of work over selected weekends, doing routine maintenance such as chopping wood and painting for bragging rights and free room and board. Aside from the grandly proportioned main lodge, the seaside property has 75 hectares dotted with several dozen smaller cabins. Newer and fancier White Beach cottages (the staffers cheekily call them “swish chalets”) complement the vintage cottages. More humble are the sturdy field cabins and the rickety beach cabins, whose lack of indoor plumbing necessitates visits to a big communal washroom that evokes a sense of summer camp. But this camp is overrun not by kids (guests must be over 14) but by an older demographic, mostly boomers who come for a relaxing vibe. Bikes and kayaks are waiting to be signed out, there are two tennis courts, and you can spend hours strolling the beaches or the trails wending through
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the forests of cedar and Douglas fir. Other amenities include a beachside hot tub, a seawater pool in front of the lodge, and an outdoor “tree shower” three metres in the air for those who like to get sudsy while admiring great sea views. The food is also a draw, being a gourmet version of country cooking augmented with such bistro fare as curried scallops and eggs Benedict. Everyone eats together, with meals included in the room rate. During the summer, dinners can be prepared on giant barbecues and served on picnic tables dotting the south-facing lawn that slopes down to Stuart Channel. Not surprisingly, the lodge motto is: Eat Read Sleep. Marilyn McCrimmon is a loyal fan. She first came nearly 30 years ago, felt an instant connection and now has five regular bookings throughout the year, plus makes further spontaneous visits when she and her husband feel like it. “We’d been thinking about buying a summer cabin, then decided that Yellow Point was our summer place,” she says. “We consider it ours when we’re there … and we’re happy to share,” she adds with a laugh. McCrimmon has long been part of the Yellow Point family, not least because she wrote Custodian of Yellow Point, the biography of Gerry Hill. On Saturday nights, prime rib dinner is followed by a band playing a two-hour set of golden-era rock ‘n’ roll. Started in 2008 by Hill, the group, whose name shifts from the ZestTones or the Whack-a-Moles to the You Get What You Pay For Band, comprises a rotating crew of semi-locals with professional music backgrounds who play early tunes by the Stones and Van Morrison as well as vintage Springsteen, Bowie, and Beatles. Almost immediately the audience, many of whom haven’t been to a nightclub in decades, will crowd the dance floor, whooping appreciatively. For those souls who insist on venturing beyond the property, the Crow & Gate is a half-hour bike ride down the road. The first neighborhood pub to be licensed in BC, this is a welcoming place, one where the locals keep their own mugs behind the bar. (It’s also where Elton John snuck up to from Victoria to have dinner with bosom buddies Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.) Nearby is the Barton & Leier Gallery, famed for its Alice in Wonderland landscaping as much as the gallery itself, which blooms with the boldly colourful paintings of couple Grant Leier and Nixie Barton. But it all comes back to “the Point,” where many, many friendships have been forged and nurtured over the decades. “We definitely have our ‘Yellow Point’ friends, people we only see up here but who are incredibly dear to us,” adds McCrimmon. “I really don’t think there is another place like Yellow Point, anywhere.”
People hoping to visit Yellow Point Lodge are advised to take advantage of cancellations. One of the best times to phone is exactly two weeks before you want to come. Call 250-245-7422. For rates and other information visit yellowpointlodge.com. VB
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Victoria’s unassuming international street of foodie delights BY JENNIFER gurney-BOWLES
TAYING IN town this summer but craving exotic cuisine, bursting with intense, authentic flavour? Then take your palate by foot, bicycle, bus (the No. 6) or car along the full length of Quadra Street, a Victorian corridor of international and distinctive cuisine. In a stretch of about five kilometres you can travel to all corners of the world. Rare finds from India, Greece, Holland, Morocco, Jamaica and more are tucked in eclectic little markets and restaurants. The owners of these shops on Quadra Street are fiercely proud of their culture, passionate about their cuisines and provide some of the most distinctive food this city has to offer. Here’s a sampling: Downtown beside the Market on Yates, sits the unassuming 1 Sakura Japanese Fast Food Restaurant & Market (1213 Quadra). Light on decor and with only seven tables, Sakura offers well-priced, fresh sushi rolls, from classic California rolls to barbecued eel. The menu also boasts bento boxes and Donburi rice bowls, which are a favourite with the downtown lunch crowd. Sakura’s market shelves are stocked with Japanese spices, noodles, frozen seafood, candies, condiments and other gems for the adventurous eater. If you are looking for a delicious Japanese experience, then Sakura is a must. Moving up just north of Bay Street, on the west side by Kings Road, 2 The Wooden Shoe, Dutch & Indonesian Delicatessen and Market (2576 Quadra) lies in the heart of Quadra Village and is a must for licorice lovers. Unique 86
offerings such as double-salted, fruit-flavoured and monkeyshaped licorice are among the 60 types to choose from. The shop also offers over 20 kinds of Dutch cheese from mild to extra-aged along with sausage and smoked eel or mackerel. If it’s Indonesian you seek, the shelves are host to tangy peanut sauces, condiments, sambals and fish crackers. A little farther north, on the west side, Victoria’s first glutenfree cafe, 3 Santé, (2630 Quadra), has celiacs rejoicing. Named for the French word for health, this swank Parisianstyle cafe pumps out some seriously thoughtful food. Rusticstyle pizza with crusty dough, glazed donuts, daily lunch features and enticing sweets are all gluten-free. Santé is worth the trip even if you can eat wheat. Just south of Hillside, the 4 Caribbean Village Café, (2646 Quadra), sports authentic Jamaican patties, the aromatic, flaky pastry pockets stuffed with warm, curried meat. Other house specialties are veggies and potato and the Spicy Chicken with beans or rice, which live up to the press. Other offerings include oxtail soup, beef or chicken roti and homemade ginger beer. Pick up a few tender Johnny cakes for the ride home. Walking into 5 The Royal Kebab & Grill, (2656 Quadra), also just south of Hillside, is like walking into a kebab joint in England, where kebabs are the equivalent of pizza by the slice after a night out. The Royal also serves a savoury chicken samosa with its pillowy, fragrant filling enveloped by flaky pastry, and a divine house-made soup with lentils, kidney
beans, peas and cauliflower; this hearty soup is delightful and surprisingly delicate. Take advantage of their daily features, and rice boxes with succulent lamb or chicken kebabs. Five blocks north by Tolmie Avenue, the well-known 6 La Piola (3189 Quadra) has recently had a â€œmake-under.â€? No longer a full-scale Italian restaurant, it has become an affordable, community-conscious, relaxed deli-style eatery, where you can buy food to eat there or take away. Their menu is still packed with homemade paninis, fresh pasta, sauces, pizzas, and will soon be carrying local produce. But La Piola is also fully licensed. Take advantage of their sunny patio on Sangria Sundays. At the 7 Lakehill Grocery (Mediterranean Market) (3949 Quadra), at Reynolds Road, owner Yasser Youssef offers a vast selection of zesty homemade dips like walnut and pomegranate, hummus, roasted red pepper and feta, along with a generous selection of tangy olives, cheeses, honeyed baklava, flat breads and Maamoul (date) cookies. The home-made Turkish delight peppered with pistachios is reason alone to go. Recently moved to a new location at just north of McKenzie Ave., the 8 Indian Food Market (4011 Quadra), has an impressive array of authentic Indian ingredients, biryani spices, and imported condiments that are a must for any Indian food aficionado. The market also offers delicious hot curries and jasmine-scented rice to go. For dessert, to try their handmade besan, which is like a chickpea fudge. The texture is the same as fudge, but the flavour is complex with mild sweet notes. VB 87
Marvellous Melbourne is an Aussie must-do By kristEn avis
N MY first day exploring Melbourne, the city that became my home, I didn’t know what I was looking for. I wandered around, jumping from tram to tram, essentially trying to get lost. There seemed to be no landmark or historic site that people would come from miles around to see. No Eiffel tower, no Big Ben, no Harbour Bridge. But in figuring that out, I discovered the wonderful quirkiness of Melbourne. Every nook and cranny, every inch of space, has something going on, whether it’s magnificent architecture, a brick wall covered in expert graffiti, or a crowd around a street performer. You haven’t experienced Melbourne until you’ve got lost in, and then embraced, the city’s “laneway culture.” Melbourne’s beauty and energy lie in these many narrow alleys bustling with people and trendy boutiques, coffee shops and chocolatiers. Restaurant tables set up alongside the walls have just enough space to squeeze past or to gawk from, as the parade passes by. Sitting at the top of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, which is Australia’s second-largest city, has attractions to interest all age
groups, from a lively dining-out culture — and something we’re deprived of in BC, plenty of bring-your-own-booze restaurants — to amazing galleries and historical museums, plus sporting events from tennis to cricket (if you can sit through nine hours of the incomparably boring game) and Aussie rules football. The famous Crown Casino precinct bustles with dolled-up Melbournians (aka Melburnians) frequenting the theatre shows, shops, gambling venues and premium restaurants. Architecture buffs love Melbourne’s intricately designed and sometimes contrasting buildings and houses. It’s quite usual to see an old, beautifully restored Victorian-style character home next to an ultra-modern house with asymmetrical lines and chic finishings on a minimally landscaped yard. Federation Square is one of Melbourne’s most popular tourist attractions, built in the fragmented deconstructivist style, leaving one wondering how the pieces fit together. Cast-iron lacework decorates the city on fences and on verandas such as those of the Melbourne Town Hall and the Salvation Army building. This is thanks to wealth from the historic gold rush and iron ballast in ships, which allowed developers to build in elaborate Victorian style.
Left, panoramic view of the Melbourne central business district skyline as seen from the Southbank Bridge. Above, shoppers at Queen Victoria Market enjoy breakfast or a coffee in neighbouring cafes.
Of course, the beach culture is important in Melbourne, too, as it is in all Australia’s coastal cities. Most mornings I join residents who jog along Port Phillip Bay on a path dotted with white clay tiles. Each tile contains quotes from the locals of their memories of growing up at the beach, such as “I used to swim with dolphins at Elwood beach,” and “My grandfather used to lower me down here to catch worms and when it was time to get out, I’d hang onto the end of his fishing rod and he’d haul me out.” I can see the love of beach culture all around me as I jog. A well-known television news reporter washes his dog in the sea, teen girls in checkered uniforms skip school, and an elderly couple shares an ice cream. Some of the best wine in the world is produced near here, and a wine-tasting trip into the quiet, rolling hills of the vineyards provides a break from the pace of the city. The Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula wine regions are only 89
Gunamatta Beach, near Melbourne
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a short drive from the city. Another escape for those who like the outdoors is a three-hour drive to Wilson’s Promontory, innovative • sustainable • inspired a national park on the southern-most tip of the Australian mainland. If you expect to see kangaroos and koalas roaming around as soon as you land in Australia, as I foolishly did, you’ll be utterly disappointed. But wait until you see Wilson’s Promontory, which provides natural Australian beauty and a plethora of furry Aussie critters. As my partner and I drove out of the park on a winding road lined with gum trees alongside the most beautiful inlets with teal water, wallabies, kangaroos, and emus darted across the road towards the last slivers of burning sun. Sunset is the best time to see them in the dozens. Melbourne is a lot like home, only warmer. But the weather is just as variable as it is in Victoria, sometimes spiraling through four seasons in one day. Quite often at the beach, the humid summer heat drops, the wind picks up, the crashing waves get louder and faster, and the kite surfers run towards the ocean. Then it starts to rain and a pleasant, spring-like evening follows. Getting around Melbourne is simple, thanks to a well250.384.1550 planned train network and the largest tram network in the world. A restaurant tram even offers three-, four- or fivekeithbakerdesign.com course meals as it rattles through the streets at night, giving Custom Designs for unique Living spaCes you a full city tour while you dine in style. Australia is about as far as you can get from BC and the country is massive, so allow yourself time to discover it. After visiting Melbourne, you could venture down the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide, or fly nearly anywhere in the country KeithBakerJuly2011.indd 2 for relatively cheap prices. Domestic flights are much less expensive than in Canada, starting as low as $20 with budget airlines such as Tiger, JetStar, and Virgin. Most international airlines fly daily to Australia. Return flights start at $1,500 CDN, with our dollar almost on par with the Australia dollar. Air Canada flies from Victoria to Vancouver and straight to Sydney, then it’s an hour-long flight to Melbourne. You’ll need a tourist visa. See www.immi.gov.au for more information. VB
6/1/11 1:59:18 PM
Iconic Melbourne landmark, The Brighton Beach Huts
F I N E K I TC H E N C A B I N E T RY
FOOD & WINE
Herb Ricotta Cheese stuffed Squash Blossoms
mixed vegetable grill
Grilled Peaches and Berries
Grilled Asparagus Tacos
Hot & Sweet
Cheers to 4 years!
Barbecued fruit and veggies make a summer meal
VEGETARIAN BARBECUE is not an oxymoron. Although most of us think of meat when we think of grilling, vegetables and fruit are excellent choices to suspend over hot coals. First, vegetables. Grilling carmelizes the natural sugars in vegetables such as carrots, onions and beets, and makes them taste extra-sweet. Their textures improve. Potatoes become crispy on the outside and stay sweet and moist inside. Try corn on the cob, either wrapped in foil or straight on the grill; or asparagus, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, artichokes, fennel and leeks. The grilling method is the same for all veggies, although a grill basket or skewer will be needed if you are using chopped or smaller vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes or button mushrooms. To prevent vegetables from drying out soak them in cold water before cooking. Slice the vegetables into equalsized pieces to allow for the maximum amount of surface area to be grilled and so the vegetables cook evenly and quickly. The larger and thicker the pieces, the longer the grilling time. Lightly brush the vegetables with olive oil to prevent them from sticking and burning on the grill. Olive oil is preferred, since it intensifies flavors. Marinades can be used in place of the oil. White wine, oil, garlic, onion, and celery salt combine to make a good marinade, as does a mix of beer, oil, garlic and cloves. The vegetables should marinate for about half an hour before you grill them. Experiment with seasoning, but overall a little kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper go a long way to add and intensify the sweetness of the veggies. Large vegetables are ideal for tossing straight on the grill because they will not fall between the grates. Medium heat is best and grilling times will vary, depending on thickness and type of vegetable. Vegetables should come off the grill tender and have brown grill marks on both sides. Now to fruit. Many people don’t think about cooking fruit, let alone grilling it. But the intense heat of the grill adds fantastic sweet and smoky flavour, as well as a great taste contrast when served alongside grilled veggies. Fruits that grill up wonderfully include pineapple, either in rings straight on the grill, or in chunks on a skewer, as well as apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, grapes on kebob skewers and cherries cooked in a basket, banana, coconut cut into wedges, figs and oranges. A simple elegant appetizer, as seen on our cover this month, is prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches with goat cheese, garnished with rosemary.
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text and photos By MARYANNE CARMACK
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Fruits are best grilled when the coals have begun to die out or when placed on the outer edges of the grate, using indirect heat. Soft fruits benefit from leaving skins on to maintain their shape. Don’t cook too long or fruit will become mushy. Use skewers or a grill basket to prevent small chunks or soft fruit from falling through the grate. Brushing fruit with melted butter or oil during grilling helps to keep it from sticking. Try sprinkling with sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar or lemon juice while grilling. Sugar tends to burn so it is best to apply it toward the end of cooking time. For a treat that will impress, crack open a cocunut, slice it into wedges and lay the pieces white side down on the grill over low coals. Grill until lightly browned, then dip in melted chocolate and enjoy! One more idea: Cheese on the barbie might sound strange, but it is a delectable protein addition to a vegetarian grilled meal. The perfect cheese to throw on your grill is Halloumi, a Mediterranan cheese made from goat or sheep milk. It has a high melting point, which allows it to keep its shape and firm consistency when cooked and it develops a beautiful gold crust and soft gooey inside. Its mildly salty, mellow-yet-slightlytangy flavor makes it a real crowd-pleaser. Preheat your grill to medium. Slice Halloumi cheese into wide, 1/2 inch-thick slices and lightly brush each side with olive oil. Carefully place on grill for just a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned and gently crisped. Serve immediately. Delicious!
Grilled Veggie Dinner for 4
Appetizer: Grilled Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Herb Ricotta Cheese 4 large squash blossoms 3/4 cup sheep’s milk ricotta cheese 6 tbsp minced fresh herbs — mint, cilantro, basil, chives 1 tsp finely grated ginger 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 lemon Mix the cheese in a bowl with the herbs, ginger and one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the green, needle-like points at the base of the flowers. Carefully pry apart the petals of each blossom. Remove the stamen. Put a spoonful of the cheese mixture inside each blossom and gently twist the tips of the blossoms shut. Brush the blossoms with oil and season the outside with salt and pepper. Place the blossoms over medium heat on the grill and cook on each side for one minute. Serve with lemon.
Main Dish: Grilled Asparagus Tacos 16 asparagus spears 4 corn tortillas 1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste olive oil Soak asparagus in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat grill. Place asparagus on hot grill and cook until the spears start to soften and have good grill marks. Remove from grill. Place four spears in each tortilla, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add 1/4 of the cheese. Fold in half, brush the outside with olive oil and place the whole thing back on the grill for a couple of minutes or until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melted. Add sour cream and guacamole to finish it off. Dessert: Grilled Peaches and Berries 2 medium ripe peaches, halved and pitted 1 cup fresh blueberries 2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp lemon juice Place peach halves, cut side up, on each on its own double thickness heavy-duty foil (12 in. square). Sprinkle each with blueberries, brown sugar, butter and lemon juice. Fold foil around peaches and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over mediumlow heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Eat over ice cream. VB
WINE PAiRINGS from boulevard`s WINE EXPERT SHARON MCLEAN When pairing food and wine, the cooking method changes everything — think boiled potatoes and fries. Barbecuing will increase the overall weight of the dish, intensify flavours and add smoky notes. Wine selections should match that intensity. The grilled squash blossoms have a subtle flavour, but sharper flavours arise from the tangy sheep’s ricotta cheese and the array of herbs. Try a Pinot Gris or a dry Gewurztraminer such as the 2009 Garry Oaks, Salt Spring Island, Pinot Gris ($21.99) or the 2010 Averill Creek, Cowichan Valley, Gewurztraminer ($18). Asparagus has such a distinctive flavour that it’s often difficult to pair. A Sauvignon Blanc has matching green and herbal notes and the acidity required to cut through the cheeses. For something a little different try a blend of Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc and Viura grapes from Rueda in Spain: 2009 Telmo Rodrguez, Basa ($17.99, BC LDB). And finally dessert. Peaches and berries to me say Moscato d’Asti. The low alcohol is just perfect anytime. One of my favourites is the Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont in Italy ($17.99, Everything Wine). A more robust choice is one of local blackberry-based wines, such as the Wild Blackberry from Rocky Creek Winery ($20), an unfortified wine with big juice flavours.
WRY EYE Every summer, my man officially breaks up with me and takes up with my arch-rival, the siren know as
Miss Harley-Davidson By shannon moneo
ILLUSTRATION SHELLEY DAVIES
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3/24/11 1:25:18 PM
I AM NOW officially a fair-weather divorcée. Warm, dry days. Perfect for picnics at China Beach, hikes in East Sooke, Sunday drives to Cowichan. Not to be. Beyond what were once pleasures, I have been left with yard work, two kids and a dog. The cause of this summer separation? A big chunk of Milwaukee metal. My husband Mitch rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A candy-apple red, 1993 Electra Glide to be exact. Shiny, loud and extravagant. Don’t ever call it a Sportster. That’s what “girls” ride. 96
When Mitch hit “middle age” he decided it was time to indulge. Modest and low-key, he deserved a little splurge. Some fellows have flesh-and-blood affairs. Mitch decided to straddle something else that was glossy, hot and gave him a thrill or two. He chose an H-D for R and R. As far as I know, he hasn’t given the bike a pet name. If I hear him whispering Suzy or Cindy in his sleep, I’ll chalk that up to the bike. So now, this chrome-crusted, mechanically enhanced interloper consumes much of my husband’s attentions. During the week, he rides her to work from our rural home near Sooke into downtown Victoria. When once he just hopped into his car, travel mug in hand, it now takes him 10 minutes — time we once chatted — to don his “leathers.” His unforgiving mistress demands appropriate attire. Conservative dress pants are topped with raunchy leather chaps. A weathered black leather jacket blankets the managerial shirt and tie. Black helmet and leather gauntlets complete the ensemble. You’d never know a bureaucratic brainiac lurked beneath the garb, looking like a Mad Max extra. He roars off, trailing stinky fumes. Does he know his object of desire leaves behind such a tacky calling card? On weekends, Mitch does it all again, not heading to work but to secret assignations. I don’t ask. He doesn’t tell. He comes home sweaty, flushed and bearing a gift. Guilt perhaps? But that’s part of the Harley thing. Riding free. Going where the road takes you, even if it means abandoning loved ones and an overgrown yard. There’s another very crucial element to this two-wheeled tryst. At least once a week, his beloved gets the spa treatment. Mitch hauls out chrome crème, polisher, bike shampoo, special rags and unguents, more products than he uses on his own parts. He’ll spend at least one hour getting Miss H-D picture-perfect, right down to using a toothbrush in those hard-to-reach crevices. And when he’s done? He’ll sit there admiring her. When passersby lavish him with compliments about his “ride,” Mitch’s day is made. But Harleys aren’t cheap. What with maintenance, gas and accessorizing, he may as well have had a flesh-and-blood mistress. I must say though, the Hog is a beauty. One full-moon night when the rays hit just the right spot, the sparkling metal was so brilliant I had to get out of bed to investigate, thinking a burglar with a flashlight was on the prowl. When the rains start in a few months, the highway hankypanky will be doused. By November, my red-headed nemesis will be locked up in a shed, like Snow White, waiting for her prince to rouse her, not with a kiss but with a key. But I’ve been thinking. Maybe I’ll get a toy. A Kawasaki “crotch rocket” perhaps? VB
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SECRETS & LIES
By shannon moneo
What was your first job? Setting sprinklers at the Qualicum Beach golf course. I was 14; I made about $40 bucks a month. We had to move the heads twice a day. We’d pray for rain. Why did you choose journalism? I wrote a story in Grade 5 for Mrs. Fran Dobinson and it made her laugh so hard she started crying. It was about how the hippopotamus got its name. Something clicked. I liked writing. That transferred to newspapers.
When do you lie? All of the usual social situations where politeness is the better part of valour. My wife says she can tell when I’m lying about any of her hair or fashion choices. My voice always goes up. Describe your wife Barb in three words. Dedicated, deep, delightful. What song describes your life? The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues: “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”
Would you advise your sons to go into journalism today? No. I’m the last generation to make a good living out of this business. You’re not supposed to make your career choices on financial concerns. Do what you love. But journalism’s future is uncertain.
What else would you like to have been? A Snowbird pilot.
Did winning the Jack Webster Award for commentary in 2009 get you a raise? No. It got me a free trip to Vancouver. There are so many great writers in BC. It knocked me off my feet when they phoned and said I won it.
What do you do when you can’t fall asleep? Write columns in my head.
When you write, what audience do you have in mind? I’ve got a construct of a Victoria newspaper reader. She’s a retired teacher or a former senior bureaucrat with a deep knowledge of English grammar and a wide scope of knowledge in all political affairs. I think the TC readers are the smartest newspaper readers in Canada.
On a July Saturday night, what are you doing? Sitting on the deck with my wife and cocker spaniel Max watching the sun set, drinking mojitos.
What’s on your bedside table? A.J. Jacobs’ The Know-ItAll. He read the Encyclopedia Britannica cover to cover. A Carl Hiaasen book. My BlackBerry, an iPod Touch and a recharger.
Do you ever wake up in the night and want to change something in a column? Yes, I wake up in a cold sweat and realize I’ve spelled someone’s name wrong. It’s just horrifying. You’ve read it 35 times before you’ve filed it but there’s still a mistake. It’s just awful. What makes a successful politician? Thick skin. A real love of people. You’ve got to know where you’re going, know what you want to do. Christy Clark is successful. Look what she just pulled off.
LES LEYNE, 57 Newspaper political columnist
Are you a big-screen TV or bookworm kind of guy? I’m tending towards big screen. I watch Extreme Hoarders. It fascinates me. It’s horrifying. How’s your golf game? It’s a tragic story. I peaked at age 18 and it’s been a long, gradual slide ever since. What’s your most valued possession? My bicycle. It’s a Marin Larkspur hybrid. I commute to work on it. I love it. It is 8.6 kilometres one way. If everybody rode their bikes, I think the amount of stress in the world would go way down. What will be on your tombstone? He did the best he could, given what he had. Interview has been condensed and edited VB
PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY
BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...
Published on Jun 28, 2011
BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...